ANANTNAG: Locals in the tourist resort of Pahalgam have accused the administration of allowing influential people to construct hotels while denying common people to even repair their dilapidated houses.
They have cited the example of the owner of the Pine Spring hotel. They said that he had the permission only for minor repairs of his structure but the hotelier has been carrying out the renovation of his hotel for the past one year.
Besides erecting the fence all around the hotel, locals said, he erected several small structures within the hotel premises.
“The hotelier carried out the repairs of the hotel ten times what he was legally asked to do. But the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) don’t dare to touch him as he happens to be the close relative of the NC Patron, Farooq Abdullah,” locals told Kashmir Reader.
Similarly, the hotel Hill Top constructed on forest land and owned by a rich and politically well connected person, was being renovated for the past two years.
“The hotelier had the permission for some minor repairs but with the tacit support of various Chief Executive Officers he added more rooms to the hotel,” PDA sources told Kashmir Reader.
The work on another hotel, Sarchen Resorts near Yanner is also going on without any permission.
Locals said since the hotel is owned by a former bureaucrat, PDA authorities instead of stopping the work are allegedly facilitating the passage of the construction material for the hotel.
Locals alleged that such facility was hardly allowed for any common man.
Chief executive officer, PDA, Riyaz Ahmad did not attend the calls despite repeated attempts.
However a top official of the PDA admitted that many hoteliers have and are still carrying out major renovations of their hotels against the norms.
“Yes, it is true that court has granted permissions for minor repairs only. But it is the CEOs who on the order of court decide about the quantity of construction material to be allowed for hoteliers. We are meant to check the violations in the building permission norms only,” the official said.