Illegal Yanner hotels, huts start commercial operations

SHABIR AHMAD
Anantnag: Dozens of hotels and huts that have come up illegally in this ecologically fragile Pahalgam resort have started commercial operations without the registration of the tourist department.
Nearly a hundred hotels, huts, and guest houses constructed on the banks of Lidder river at ‘Yanner in nexus with the revenue and PDA officials have started commercial operations illegally, as the tourism season in the Valley has started picking up, reports said.
‘Yanner’ is a scenic spot on the banks of Lidder, 8 km down to Pahalgam. It’s s emerging as one of the favorite tourist destinations for its enchanting beauty. The spot became the focus of land mafia after the high court imposed ban on constructions in Pahalgam. Though the government last year had brought the spot under the ambit of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) and the District and Sessions Judge Anantnag had banned all types of constructions at the spot two years back but commercial structures continue to come up there.
“One wonders what the authorities are doing to save this scenic spot. After defacing the beauty of this spot these hoteliers and hut owners have now started commercial operations. All these hotels san pollution control devices which means that their commercial operation will go on at the cost of the Lidder waters,” said a local, Ghulam Nabi.
He said whenever he lodged a complaint with the authorities about illegal constructions; they assured that no commercial activity shall be allowed there.
While the locals blame the tourism authorities for turning a blind eye towards the illegal operation of the hoteliers and hut owners, the later cite the upcoming elections as the reason for delay in action against them.
“The upcoming elections are hampering action against the hoteliers and guest house owners. I know all of them are operating without the registration of tourism department but due to the elections our schedule remains busy. Our officials have to move here and there in connection with polls. But for the forthcoming elections we would have taken action,” tourist officer, Pahalgam Rubeena Shahi told Kashmir Reader.
However, sources in the tourism department wishing anonymity said that the political intervention is impeding action against the hoteliers.
“Though most of these hoteliers, guest house and hut owners had applied for registration but the same was denied as they failed to produce NOCs of PDA and PCB. Both these agencies know that these hoteliers have come up illegally on the banks of Lidder and are going to pose big threat to the water body if NOCs for commercial operation is issued to them. But most of them are politically influential and have started the commercial operations illegally by using their political influence,” sources said.
“It is the political intervention that impedes action against them,” they added.