SRINAGAR: Observing that no institution or person was above law, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked army to save the ecology of the Gulmarg, the world famous ski-resort in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Hearing an application for renovation of shelters by army, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed observed that everybody was polluting and damaging the ecologically fragile resort.
“Save the ecology of the resort. Nobody is above law,” the high court observed and asked counsel representing army to apply to concerned authority for renovations.
Chief Executive Officer of the Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) submitted that army was in possession of excess land. “If army requires land, then it should be legal,” the court said.
Meanwhile, the court directed verification of villages falling within the jurisdiction of the GDA. The court’s direction followed submission by advocate general that GDA do not have the exact knowledge of actual extent of area within its jurisdiction.
Previously, the court had directed the GDA to place on record the total extent of its area and its CEO was to file an affidavit. In compliance to the direction, the CEO submitted that complete area has been mentioned in SRO -112 of 23 March 1990. He said as per the SRO and subsequent SRO (61 of 2008) indicates that 26 more villages are within the local area of GDA. “The minutes of those villages have to be verified by revenue authorities and the same be placed before the court,”, the division bench said.
The court also enquired the decision of cabinet which met on June 7 about the Master Plan of Gulmarg. “The draft master plan was placed before the cabinet and was examined,” The advocate general said, adding that the same will be examined by a group of ministers on infrastructural development.
The court directed the exercise be done during the in next two weeks and its result be place it.
The court also directed the Pollution Control Board to visit the hotels of Gulmarg as to whether they are complying with the norms and if they do not, they should be sealed.
With regard to the processing of solid waste management, the court was informed that two metric tons of bio-degradable per day and one metric ton of non-biodegradable per day (Electronic Magnetic Disintegration) has already been set up by GDA and for which NOC from PCB is awaited. The court directed Secretary Tourism and CEO GDA to inform the court about the segregation of waste in and around Gulmarg.
The court was hearing the PIL filed in 2012 by one Mohammad Rafiq Zargar, seeking directions for protection of fragile environment of Gulmarg.