Despite HC ban, illegal huts, hotels coming up in Pahalgam

ANANTNAG: Despite a High Court ban on construction in the areas falling within the ambit of Pahlagam Development Authority (PDA), there seems no end to illegal constructions at Yanner area of the ecologically fragile tourist resort.
Locals say that officials of the PDA, who are supposed to implement the High Court ban, appear to look the other way and that there is a nexus between them and the violators.
“See how brazenly work on several hotels and huts is going on. Some officials of the PDA are well aware of these illegal constructions but they mislead their top brass after entering into deal with the violators,” a group of locals told Kashmir Reader.
They said that many officials of the PDA made fortunes after the High Court ordered ban on constructions in the area.
“I can prove how several PDA officials have made fortunes out of the HC ban during last few years. They come, stop the work on illegal constructions and even seize the construction material. After threatening the violators of producing challan against them in the court they enter into a deal with them. Once the deal is done the PDA officials facilitate the completion of their illegal structures,” Abdul Rashid, a local resident, said.
He said the PDA people implement the ban in those cases only where the violators refuse to grease their palms.
“Since the area was brought under the domain of PDA one and a half year ago, more than 30 huts which were far from completion were completed,” said another resident Mohammad Ishaq.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), PDA, Riyaz Ahmad, acknowledged that he has come to know about the violations by some people in the area.
“I will be personally visiting the spot soon to check the violations. Anybody found carrying out construction work illegally would be brought to the book. We are trying our best to ensure that there are no more illegal constructions in the area,” the CEO told Kashmir Reader.