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Approves Phase-I of Gulmarg Master Plan-2032

JAMMU: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here today under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved the Gulmarg Master Plan – 2032, Phase-I, with Phase-II of the plan to be completed by end of June, 2019.
Advisors to the Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K K Sharma, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to the Governor Umang Narula were present at the meeting.
It is pertinent to mention that in absence of any Master Plan for Gulmarg and its surroundings, its ecological fragile ecosystem had suffered unstructured development, encroachment and conversion of green cover into impervious surfaces. The Master Plan envisages developing Gulmarg into an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable ace tourist destination. The Master Plan envisages maximizing the contribution of Gulmarg and its surrounds to the State’s economy, preserve its rich natural and cultural heritage, and at the same time provide the best hospitality, excellent value for money and memorable experiences to every visitor, develop Gulmarg as one of the preferred all-weather international tourist destinations, ensuring community participation without compromising on its ecological balance. for all new constructions and reconstructions, the norms as laid down in Master Plan shall strictly be adhered to without any compromise
The main features of the Master Plan Gulmarg-2032 inter-alia include that Tangmarg Area in the vicinity of Gulmarg shall be developed as Satellite-Tourist-Township with flexible set of Development Control Regulations (DCRs) to attract developers for high end tourism infrastructure. This concept is aimed at reducing further foot print of development in Gulmarg which has very limited carrying capacity. Significant part of GDA especially Gulmarg, Khillanmarg, Botapathri and nearby areas included in the territorial jurisdiction of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary/Biosphere reserve etc will not be used for any high built up infrastructure development other than what is proposed in view of ecological constraints and sensitivities involved. Instead such areas have been proposed for leisure- tourism, eco-tourism, and adventure tourism.
The expansion of existing footprints of tourism infrastructure shall be allowed in accordance with the norms laid down in the Master Plan document, besides it also provides for Facade control/design guidelines along with DCRs which are very important for imageability of the destination.
Bed capacity of Gulmarg has been further supplemented by extra accommodation in the form of tourist resort in the south-West of Bowl and hutments and Camping sites on the western end of Leopard Valley besides eco-tourism areas as per the proposals contained herein. The Master Plan also envisages development of tourist resorts in Tangmarg making it the night stay destination and limiting the bed capacity in Gulmarg below its holding capacity.
The Plan envisages designation and development of Botapathri, Khillanmarg and other areas en-route to Botapathri as model ecotourism sites in collaboration with the local communities, Wildlife Department, Forest Department and GD, development of Drung as heritage village with limited tourist activity through the development of guest houses with the urban design features of vernacular architecture and banning of any kind of compound walling in the area, development of Maahayeen, Qazipur, and Ferozpur as model villages with focus on country guest house accommodation and low intensity tourist activities, development of Baba Reshie area as heritage area with facilities for pilgrim tourism besides preserve villages in the region and facilitate the local communities to develop ecotourism and guest houses.
The Master Plan also envisages biodiversity parks of Kashmir Himalayan Flora in Gulmarg; separate entry and exit points to avoid traffic congestions and Pony Management to arrest horse dung posing a serious problem in the resort as most of it is littered creating unpleasant landscape.
The preparations of Master Plan-2032 were initiated pursuant to the orders of the Hon’ble High Court in PIL titled Mohammad Rafiq Zargar Vs. State and Others. The preparation of the Master Plan Gulmarg was preceded by Environmental Impact Assessment and GIS mapping of the Gulmarg part of the local area. The Draft Master Plan-2032 prepared by the Town Planning Organization, Kashmir has been extensively examined by the Tourism Department for the last 5 years with Hon’ble High Court closely monitoring its preparation.
The Draft Master Plan was also put in public domain for inviting objections/suggestions. The Tourism department constituted a Committee of Officers to examine the suggestions. Suggestions as were found to be useful in the context of development of Gulmarg as an economically, Socially and Ecologically viable tourist spot were factored in the final Draft Master Plan. Suggestions were received from different stakeholders including Gulmarg Development Authority.
Phase-I shall include the existing limits to the extent possible and phase-II shall cover the remaining areas as per the modified SRO and finalized by June, 2019. While formulating the Draft Master Plan, adequate care has been taken to ensure compliance with all laws, incorporate suggestions as have been received as far as possible and cover forest and other areas especially wildlife. The Master Plan does not intend to regularise any violation or construction made in contravention to the permission granted earlier or any construction without valid permission.

Rationalization of norms for sale of timber in CTSDs to consumers

The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here today under the chairmanship of Governor, Shri Satya Pal Malik approved the proposal of the J&K State Forest Corporation to rationalize the norms for sale of timber in Concessional Timber Sale Depots (CTSDs).
The new norms were approved in pursuance of the recommendations of the Committee constituted under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary for the purpose. The main feature of the rationalized timber sale norms inter-alia includes that the existing practice of classifying timber sale depots into A, B and C zones shall be dispensed with. This concept was relevant earlier in view of no or poor road connectivity and feeble economy which have undergone a sea change now.
The concessions to villagers, whose village boundary lies within three miles (5 kilometers) of the demarcated forest boundary, provided that the forest is not separated by the village by an unfordable stream at its winter level, shall continue to be granted under the Kashmir Forest Notice and Jammu Forest Notice. Similarly, Zamindars residing between 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 kilometers) of demarcated forest boundary shall also get timber as provided in the Kashmir Forest Notice and Jammu Forest Notice, subject to silvicultural availability of trees and capacity of the forest to meet the demand.
The power to revise/ fix the rates for sale of timber shall be delegated to the Steering Committee of the J&K State Forest Corporation headed by the Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, Forest, Environment and Ecology Department, and having PCCF J&K, MD J&K SFC, CCF Kashmir, and Director Finance J&K SFC as its members. The Steering Committee shall revise the sale rates of timber annually based on the average auction rates of the previous year.
Timber shall be supplied at the average auction rates of the previous year less by 50 % for BPL consumers and less by 15 percent for non-BPL consumers. For the purpose of determining eligibility under BPL category, the records maintained by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs shall be relied upon.
The Steering Committee of J&K State Forest Corporation shall also fix the overall proportion of timber, species-wise, to be allocated to CTSDs and auction sale depots of SFC for maintaining a balance between the two sources of revenue.

Nod to J&K Aadhaar Bill-2018

The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here today under the chairmanship of Governor, Shri Satya Pal Malik approved the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2018’.
The Act provides legal and statutory backing to the use of Aadhaar and would address privacy and security concerns of the residents, who have to use Aadhaar identity created on the basis of their unique biometrics and demographic details, to avail the benefits of various schemes of the Government.
The primary purpose of the Act will be to make sure that biometrics of the residents are used for unique Aadhaar number generation which can further be used for authentication of identity of targeted beneficiaries of various public services and subsidies accruing out of public funds. This in the process will obliterate the chances of leakages and siphoning of public funds.
Under this Act, the Unique Identification Authority shall generate Aadhaar, ensure security, confidentiality of identity information and authentication of records of individuals. The Authority shall also take all the necessary measures to ensure that the information in the possession or control of the Authority, including information stored in the Central Identities Data Repository, is secured and protected against access by the adoption and implementation of appropriate technical and organizational security measures. Like the central act, the State Aadhaar Act restricts data sharing, search and download. This Act rules out the possibility of the surveillance, as well as the possibility to identify people for some collateral purpose.
The Bill takes into consideration the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case titled Justice K. K. Puttaswamy and another V/s Union of India and others. The Bill has been modelled primarily on the Central Act, however, certain provisions have been added to address state specific issues.
It has been specifically provided in clause (9) of the Bill that Aadhaar number shall not be an evidence of citizenship or domicile, or being a permanent resident of the State.

Amendments in JK RTI Bill
The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here today under the chairmanship of Governor, Shri Satya Pal Malik approved enactment of the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The Amendment will facilitate appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioners during the Governor’s Rule or Presidents Rule.
Presently, the position of State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and State Information Commissioner (IC) are lying vacant in the three-member Commission. The Commission has been facing difficulties in absence of the requisite strength.

Accounts Officer post for LMD

The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here today under the chairmanship of Governor, Shri Satya Pal Malik accorded sanction to the creation of one post of Accounts Officer in the Pre-Revised Pay Band of Rs 9300-34800 +GP 4800 in the office of Controller, Legal Metrology Department.
With the creation of post of Accounts Officer, the work load of the Legal Metrology Department will be eased and it will help the organization to have better interface with the Administrative Department, AGs Office and in running the financial matters.
As the budget allocation of Legal Meteorology Department has shown manifold increase in the past years, it necessitated the creation of a post of Accounts Officer for dealing with financial matters of the Department smoothly.