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Jammu KashmirIllegal constructions turning tourist resorts into concrete jungles

Illegal constructions turning tourist resorts into concrete jungles


Mafia has field day in unrest

Illegal constructions turning tourist resorts into concrete jungles

Srinagar, Nov 1: Notwithstanding the several directions issued by High Court to safeguard the tourist resorts of the state from illegal and unauthorized constructions, famous tourist resorts Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg are fast turning into concrete Jungles.

The environmentalists are expressing their concern about the illegal constructions in these resorts. “Dozens of illegal concrete constructions have come up in these resorts. Most hotels try to maximize the number of rooms, even if they block the best views of the hills and mountains in the process and unfortunately there is hardly any opposition from the authorities,” one of the environmentalists, Dr Abdul Rashid told KNS.

He said that the government has not only allowed construction of hotels right on the most scenic spots, but has also failed to provide adequate disposal systems for solid and liquid waste.

“To make things worse, hotels, restaurants, shops and commercial enterprises all use highly polluting diesel generators for hours every day which is also causing the pollution in these resorts. We are fearful of the effect on the surrounding glaciers and endangered animals in the forests,” he said.

The and state government's Environment and Remote Sensing Department recently released a report calling for immediate measures to undo the environmental damage caused by unplanned construction at the famous resorts of the valley.

“While development of modern infrastructure is of paramount importance for meeting the needs of the industry, it is important to design such development in an eco-friendly fashion to preserve and conserve the fragile ecology and environment of tourist destinations,” the report warns.

The experts believe that the building permission laws have been thoroughly violated over the years. “The bureaucrats and influential businessmen have converted the green zone into an area permissible for construction in the master plan of the tourist resorts, after purchasing chunks of land in Pahalgam and other tourists' resorts.”

According to the official records only two out of over 100 hotels in Gulmarg and only three out of over 150 hotels in Pahalgam have secured No Objection Certificates from PCB; the rest are functioning without the standard norms.

The experts also said that the waste generated by hundreds of thousands of tourists is thrown around without any treatment or scientific management.

“In Gulmarg, garbage is thrown under the forest trees, which has caused huge damage to them. The high-altitude meadow that turns into a golf course every summer and a ski-slope every winter has no waste-treatment facilities either,” they said.

They added that thousands of tourists throng to the meadow throughout the year, especially in summer.

It is to mention here that hundreds of tourists from all over the country and the moving into these destinations including half a million people are directly or indirectly involved in the tourism industry. (KNS)

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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