Admin knows and ignores
ANANTNAG: Even after being penalised by the authorities for operating illegally, the influential hoteliers and hut owners at Yanner continue with their commercial operations at the cost of the area’s fragile ecology.
The tourism authorities, earlier this month, imposed fine on several hoteliers who were found operating in violation of the law at Yanner—a fast-emerging tourist destination in this south Kashmir district.
The tourism officials had also set a one week deadline for the violators to produce the registration documents, besides threatening to seal their commercial establishments if they fail to do so.
However, ignoring the warnings, the hoteliers, sources said, restarted their illegal operation only a couple of days after being fined.
These hoteliers and hut owners, they said, neither produced any documents nor stopped their illegal commercial operations.
“At the peak of tourism season every year, tourism officials do visit the spot and leave after issuing warnings to the violators. But we have never seen them take any strict action against any one of them. If any violator ignores the warning even after being fined, the officials are authorised to seal his hotel or hut, but they never do that,” said a local Javed Ahmad.
“Imposing fine on the violators every year is just eyewash. Had the tourism authorities been serious in stopping this illegal operation by the hoteliers, they would have directly sealed their hotels,” he said.
Yanner, around 7 kms from Pahalgam, is fast-emerging as a favourite tourist destination because of its enchanting beauty. Most of the tourists visit Pahalgam rest at the spot and enjoy rafting.
Scores of illegal structures came up at the spot during the last few years despite the High Court ban over constructions in the area.
Mohammad Shafi, a resident of Yanner, said none of the hotels at the spot has an STP, while all their sewerage empties into the Lidder river.
“The hoteliers here have put at stake the crystal-clear waters of the Lidder. One wonders over the wisdom of the authorities that allow the fragile environs of the spot being ravaged,” Shafi said.
Assistant director tourism, Pahalgam, Zahida Parveen, admitted that most of the hoteliers fined earlier have didn’t submit their relevant documents.
“Some of them have produced the receipts of the applications they have submitted with PDA for NOC. But they don’t have any valid document with them,” she said.
Asked why the fined hoteliers were allowed to carry out their commercial operations, she said, “Most of the hotels in the area are booked by July, and each one of them provides employment to at least 20 people. We cannot seal them at this stage as we have to take all these things into consideration,” the tourism officer said.