Srinagar: The high court has directed chief executive officer of Gulmarg Development Authority to free state land in the ski resort from the occupation of encroachers.
People have built structures over the illegally-occupied land. The army, which had been allotted 130 acres (1049 kanals) is in illegal possession of 1412 kanals.
In the process of retrieving the land from encroachers, a bench of justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey ordered, the deputy inspector general of police, north, should provide assistance to the CEO wherever needed.
A panel headed by Kashmir divisional commissioner had told the court in March last year that a number of lessees have occupied land more than allotted to them legally.
The panel, which has submitted its report to the chief secretary, had also identified the land under army’s possession. Last year, the government had told the court that it has issued a notice to the army. The court was not informed about the outcome of the notice.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, the bench also directed hoteliers to enclose land leased to them with wooden fencing in presence of GDA and revenue department officers.
The direction was issued after CEO’s counsel Mohsin Qadri submitted that the leased areas have already been demarcated, but the fencing will ensure that the owners will not encroach on government land.
The CEO, court said, shall also take all necessary steps for fencing off the land freed from encroachers.
“If some funds would be required by the CEO, then the government shall make the same available for safeguarding the beautiful environment of the world famous Gulmarg,” the bench said, and asked the CEO to file fresh compliance report by next hearing in the week commencing April 27.
The court was hearing a PIL by one Rafiq Ahmad Zargar, seeking directions to protect fragile environment of Gulmarg from pollution and its land from encroachments.
In its compliance report, Baramulla deputy commissioner submitted that 8 kanals and 15 marlas of land encroached upon has been taken over after proper demarcation and identification at Tangmarg.
In his compliance report, the CEO has given details about the action initiated for eviction of unauthorized occupants from the state land. He said that notices have been issued to some persons who have encroached upon state land.
In some cases, the CEO said, the violators have been issued eviction notices, while in some cases the land could not be retrieved due to litigation.
Meanwhile, the high court also issued notice to operators of snowmobiles in Gulmarg on a petition filed by local sledge owners.
Advocate Javed Iqbal, representing the sledged owners, referred to a survey report by a US-based university, claiming that one snowmobile emits the same volume of hydrocarbons and nitrous oxides as 1,000 cars, and as much carbon monoxide as 250 to 500 automobiles. However, the counsel representing the snowmobiles operators confronted the claims, saying “it was only half truth.”
After hearing both side, the court directed snowmobile operators to file reply by the next date of hearing.