Illegal hotels indulge in commercial activity at Yanner, authorities slumber

ANANTNAG: Scores of illegally constructed hotels, huts and guest houses in fragile Yanner area of Pahalgam are now carrying out commercial activities under the nose of the authorities.
Over a dozen huts and guest houses constructed illegally on the banks of Lidder river near the spot, are indulging commercial operations without registration and permission from the Tourism department.
“We are told that no establishment related to tourism can carry out any commercial activity without the registration of tourism department, but at Yanner, you can find over a dozen hotels, huts and guest houses illegally active in doing commercial activities,” said a local, Mohammad Ishaq.
He said that the illegal hoteliers and guest house owners were doing their business at the cost of the fragile environs of the area as they operate without sewage treatment plants. “None of the hoteliers at the scenic spot have constructed STP for the scientific treatment of the sewage. So both solid and liquid waste produced from their establishments makes way into Lidder polluting its crystal clear waters,” he added.
Yanner is a picturesque spot just nine kms before Pahalgam town. The spot is fast emerging as a favorite tourist destination for its enchanting beauty. Tourists while travelling to Pahalgam take rest at the spot. Land mafia shifted its focus to the scenic spot after the high court imposed ban on the constructions in Pahalgam and other areas falling in the jurisdiction of Pahalgam development authority.
Though the spot too was brought within the ambit of PDA two years ago, the land mafia continued illegal constructions in the area. Many relatives of top politicians of the valley and many bureaucrats have also constructed structures at the spot.
Former chief executive officer, PDA, Mohammad Yusuf Bhat, who was recently terminated by the government, had sealed at least 28 structures which had come up in the area after the same was notified as PDA jurisdiction. The people after raising illegal huts and hotels are also cheating the customers by showing the spot as
Pahalgam. “They put pictures of their huts and guest houses with beautiful backgrounds on their websites showing the place as Pahalgam. Once they reach the hotel they get shocked to know that Pahalgam remains nine kms away from the spot,” said another local, Mohammad Shafi.
Assistant director tourism, Pahalgam, Bilal Ahmad sought written complaint to initiate action against the people indulging in illegal commercial operation. “Only few hotels or huts at Yanner have the registration while as the rest don’t have. If they are operating illegally somebody should file a written complaint with me so that I can go for action,” the AD told Kashmir Reader.