Pahalgam Master Plan lacked sensitivity, benefitted few entrepreneurs: govt

Sana Fazili
Srinagar: The government on Saturday said that it has redrafted the Greater Pahalgam Mater Plan as it “lacked sensitivity” and benefitted select group of entrepreneurs operating in the ecologically fragile area.
The government said that plan has been redrafted, considering the recommendations by the committees constituted by state government on the directions of the High Court.
In a written reply to a question by MLA Pahalgam, M Altaf Wani, deputy chief minister Dr Nirmal Singh said:  “The modifications have been done keeping in mind the public interest, ecological safety, alleviation of planning anomalies, legal requirements of J&K Development Act, 1970.”
He said that among other recommendations the committee has said that “influx of pilgrims to holy amaranth cave was not mitigated.”
It was also recommended that present master plan lacks emphasis on parameters related to the development of Pahalgam as an eco-resort, he said.
“Master plan to focus on local economic development through participatory planning process rather than devoiding local population from its benefits,” he added
Nirmal Singh added that the master plan had to be revisited to do away with fallacies that were found in the plan. “Forest acts, environmental safety, ecological balance, legal and natural rights of the villagers were not considered in the master plan earlier,” Nirmal Singh said.
He said that the plan benefitted only a selected portion of entrepreneurs and lacked sensitivity. “It was after the intervention of court, master plan was revisited using latest technology.”
Meanwhile, the government also said that the owners from whom land had been taken for various developmental projects in Pahalgam have been compensated.
“The land has been allotted to the owners under order no 60-C of 1944,” the minister for revenue, Javaid Mustafa said in his written reply to MLA, Altaf Ahmad Wani’s question. However most of these plots are vacant, construction has been started only on some plots.
Javaid Mustaffa also said that over 50 kannals of land has been leased out in Pahalgam market, though no land has been allotted under the Roshni Act in Laripora and Nunwan areas of Pahalgam tehsil.