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news details
Month on, probe committee fails to submit report
Vandalization of Sonamarg!
9/20/2020 11:12:14 PM
Saahil Suhail

Early Times Report

Srinagar, Sept 20: Despite the passage of one month committee— constituted to check illegal constructions coming at picturesque Sonamarg—has failed to submit its report to the Jammu and Kashmir Government.
The government constituted a three member committee after Early Times filled a detailed report about the constructions taking place at the tourist spot during COVID-19 lockdown.
The Committee constituted vide Order No. 86-JK (TSM) of 2020 dated 13-08-2020 was tasked to visit the picturesque tourist spot and find out how the hoteliers have resumed construction works. “The committee visited Sonamarg and the members of the committee themselves spotted the massive construction activity,” official sources said.
They said that at certain spots the committee directed Chief Executive Officer Sonamarg Development Authority to remove the construction material dumped by influential hoteliers.
Director Tourism Kashmir, they said, during the visit expressed strong resentment against the officers of development authority for allowing vandalization of Sonamarg.
“Now we don’t know what stops the committee from compiling a report and submitting the same to the government,” they added.
Sources also revealed that the Director Tourism Kashmir, who was heading the committee, didn’t meet his members since the day they visited Sonamarg.
As reported earlier, at a time when Kashmir was fighting coronavirus, this reporter spotted massive construction activity going on in the month of July 2020.
The construction activity was going on in full swing under the cover of ‘repair and renovation’.
Highly placed sources revealed to Early Times that officials at Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) were deliberately misusing and misinterpreting the orders and directions of Jammu and Kashmir High Court to favor those hoteliers who had earlier violated the permissions issued by Building Operation and Controlling Authority (BOCA).
Construction works are going on all those big concrete structures that have come up on slopes and right and left side of Srinagar-Leh road at Sonamarg. Construction works like fixing doors, windows, rooftop and brick work was also going on at multiple places. Early Times also found people extracting sand and boulders from River Sindh near Police Station and few other places and the same was being supplied to hoteliers.
Remember, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 2017 stopped all the ongoing constructions at the tourist spot after the reports of “indiscriminate and unauthorized” constructions in Sonamarg had reached the court.
Those who were granted permissions for constructing hotels and guest houses at Sonamarg had brutally violated the BOCA permissions and constructed huge buildings in violations of the norms and the same was highlighted by Early Times in year 2016, however now most those violators have managed to complete the construction works.
The High Court also directed the CEO, SDA, to file the map of the Sonamarg area. It also asked the authorities to submit the Sonamarg master plan and “complete geographical details” about the area.
The court has also sought reports from the Regional Wildlife Warden and the DFO, Sindh, indicating forest as well as wildlife areas in Sonmarg, however both the departments have failed to demarcate the areas.
The Sonamarg Development Authority was formed in 2003 for planned development of the tourist resort; however it failed miserably and has allowed the vandalization of Sonamarg in nexus with influential businessmen.
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