Locals allege delay in Pahalgam Master Plan ‘deliberate’


Pahalgam: As revised ‘master plan’ for this world-famous tourist resort is yet to be approved, local residents allege that the delay was meant to give leeway to violators.
The high court in 2010 imposed a blanket ban on all types of constructions and repairs in Pahalgam after hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Pahalgam Peoples Welfare association.
Subsequently, the court directed the authorities to frame revised master plan after observing vast flaws in the one approved in 2006.
“Even as four years have elapsed, the revised master plan is yet to see the light of the day despite the claims by officials that objections have already been referred to competent authority,” a delegation of locals told Kashmir Reader.
They alleged that it was a deliberate attempt to help the rich and influential persons to raise hotels and huts in several notified areas.
“Around 150 structures came up in different areas of PDA jurisdiction during last four years despite the HC ban. Had the authorities framed and implemented the new master plan without any delay the violators would not have been able to come up with big hotels and huts all these years,” the locals said.
Ghulam Nabi, a local, said that the implementation of revised master plan would bring respite to the inhabitants of Pahalgam.
“The authorities in order to benefit the land mafia cause deliberate delay in finalizing the plan,” he said. The authorities for last two years, he said, have been telling people that the master plan was in finally stage “but that stage never comes”.
Another resident Mohammad Shafi said the PDA last year even sought suggestions and objections from the stakeholders.
“Even a year after seeking suggestions, master plan is yet to be approved,” he said, questioning were the authorities waiting “till the entire tourist resort is converted into a concrete jungle.”
When contacted, Chief Executive Officer PDA told Kashmir Reader the revised master plan was ready and has been even submitted to the government. “The plan awaits cabinet approval only,” he said.
Last month state’ Advocate General informed the court that the master that the report of the expert committee and objections have been referred to Competent Authority.
He said that after considering the objections, final Draft Master Plan will be prepared and submitted to Competent Authority for its approval.
“Before the Competent Authority accords approval to the Master Plan, copy thereof be produced before the court in a scaled cover,” the bench has directed and posted the case second week of February.