SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday directed the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) to consult and appoint a technical expert for supervising the repair or renovation of any structure in and around the Pahalgam resort.
In strict words, the court remarked that in lieu of repair and renovation, people should be prevented from any fresh construction, making it imperative to have a technical expert who can supervise all repairs or renovations if any are being carried out.
The court also directed the PDA to file a status report on the issue on the next date of hearing.
On a previous hearing, Advocate Zaffar Shah had pleaded before court that there is no regulation on construction. He had stated that proper surveillance should be done on repairs or renovations of structures wherever necessary and permission be granted accordingly.
Hearing the PIL on Pahalgam, the division bench comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey remarked that the authorities need to be active on the ground. They have to stop any illegal construction and carry out their responsibilities.
Earlier, the court had directed the Chief Town Planner to look after repair or renovation cases but did not opine on Monday for the same.
Meanwhile the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) presented a status report on hotels, wherein it informed court that the 42 hotels in the resort have been visited by the PCB and that out of the 42 hotels, 24 with a capacity of 20 rooms each have their own STPs (Sewerage Treatment Plants) and are functioning properly. However, 18 hotels have 19 rooms and as such do not require the same formality (i.e. their own STP).
The court however did not agree with the PCB version and directed that the hotels be examined again as “they have done this only to dispel from the requirement of having 20 rooms”.
The court directed the PCB to file a fresh report in this regard on the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile the state counsel informed court that to make Pahalgam resort free from polythene, the PCB had recently seized 54 kgs of polythene which has been brought to the court’s notice in the shape of a status report.
The court appreciated the action and directed the PCB to continue the drive.
With regard to the demarcation of villages adjoining the resort, the Chief Town Planner, Kashmir, submitted before court that he had received the revenue records from the concerned Deputy Commissioner three days ago and sought some time for follow-up action.
The court granted time till the next hearing and sought updated status.