Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Friday issued notice to the government seeking their response over plying and registration of fresh vehicles in and around the tourist area of Pahalgam.
The bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Akram Chowdhary issued notice to government through chief Secretary, Commissioner/Secretary, Tourism department, Chief Executive officer (CEO) Pahalgam Development Authority, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, SDPO, Pahalgam, M/S Tourist Taxi Stand, Pahalgam and Tourist Taxi Stand no 2 Pahalgam through their presidents.
The bench directed the respondents to file their response within two weeks.
In a fresh plea, Himalayan Welfare organization through its President Mushtaq Ahmad Magrey represented by Counsel Arif Sikander submitted before the court that as per the revised Master plan for Pahalgam- 2032, a committee was constituted to study the feasibility of allowing commercial vehicles in and around Pahalgam resort.
According to the petitioner organization, the committee prepared a report and recommended that taxis carrying tourists/passengers shall not be allowed in any case to ply vehicles in the local area of Pahalgam as already there is congestion due to existing vehicles causing air pollution which is a grave threat to the environment.
“The Committee was of the opinion that there are already six hundred taxis registered in Pahalgam carrying tourists to site seeing places and there is no need to put more burden keeping in view the fragile environment in consideration,” the petitioner submitted.
The petitioner also submitted before court that the recommendations of the Committee were followed in letter and spirit till July, 2021.
However, it was submitted that the Taxi Stand operators started registering more vehicles with their Taxi stands which are in violation to the Committee’s recommendations and suggestions causing enormous damage to the environment and congestion of roads.
It was also submitted before court by the Petitioner firm that they addressed a letter to CEO, Pahalgam Development Authority regarding the plying of vehicles in contravention to the committee recommendations, however, no action was taken to stop such vehicles.
It was stated by the petitioner organization that being concerned for environmental protection of Pahalgam and free movement of ambulances and other emergency vehicles, they are seeking direction upon respondents to check the environmental menace caused by allowing more and more commercial vehicles to ply in the eco-friendly zone.