Srinagar: The High Court on Friday directed the state government to file a report on ‘Master Plan Gulmarg’ before the next hearing of the PIL (public interest litigation) on protecting the ecology of the famous ski resort.
The court passed this direction after the state government’s counsel informed that the Commissioner Secretary, General Administration Department (GAD), has placed the master plan proposal before the minister.
The court remarked that the proposal should be acted on immediately and the progress reported to the court.
The Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir, showed a digital presentation to the court on the biodiversity of Gulmarg. He stated that there are 96 bird species in Gulmarg and a dozen species of butterflies. The report further stated that the Musk Deer is endangered and Snow Leopard and Leopard are vulnerable. A brief outline was also given on medicinal plants of Gulmarg.
After seeing the presentation, the court said, “The biodiversity needs to be maintained and species which are vulnerable or on endangered list need to be taken special care of.”
The court asked the warden to put the information on the website so that general public is kept informed.
Hearing the PIL, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey remarked that biodiversity is a great treasure and cannot be taken for granted.
The court said, “That environment as a whole needs to be saved as species depend on each other for survival.”
The Chief Town Planner Kashmir who was present before court said, “I am yet to receive revenue records of certain villages from concerned authorities before putting a plan of demarcation.”
The court directed state government to do the same within two weeks and newly appointed CEO of Gulmarg Development Authority, Syed Aneek Balki, assured the court that it will be done within two weeks.
A report presented by the State Pollution Control Board submitted that water quality at Gulmarg is within permissible limits. The court directed that further improvement should be done and fresh report
should be presented on next hearing.
The court further directed the pollution control board to check air quality frequently and asked for updated reports on next hearing.
The court observed that fragile environment can be safeguarded only by increasing forest cover and wiping out all non-biodegradable waste from Gulmarg.
Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal informed the court that polythene and plastic is being phased out from Gulmarg and submitted that at Tangmarg, Baba-Reshi and Gulmarg entry points, polythene and plastic are
not being allowed.
“We have to make Gulmarg a polythene and plastic-free zone,” the court said.