HC directs SDA to adhere to court orders for renovations

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, June 6: High Court has directed the Building Operations Controlling Authority (BOCA) of Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) to strictly adhere to the previous court orders as also the instructions of the Ministry of Environment while considering the pleas for renovation and repairs of structures in Sonamarg tourist resort.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Kazmi directed the BOCA to consider the applications submitted by the various hoteliers by keeping in mind the orders passed by court previously as well as the statutory requirements including the notification issued by the Ministry of Environment.
“Apart from the specific orders passed by this court are required to be taken into account by the BOCA while considering application for repair/renovation and construction of any building, the authorities are also required to keep in mind the statutory requirements provided under the BOCA Act, 1988 more particularly Section 5 of the Act”, read the order.
The Notification issued by the Ministry of Environment also laid down certain terms and conditions, which has provided the list of activities prohibited or to be regulated within Eco-sensitive Zone. The Notification court added is also mentioned of a zonal master plan to be drawn up by the Union Territory in such a manner as to prohibit development activities at or near these areas which are detrimental to such areas.
The court has made it clear that any decisions which would be taken by BOCA, the same shall be revised in terms of this order so that any such permission granted by the BOCA is in conformity with the directions issued by this Court as well as statutory requirements.
Court has expected that the BOCA will do the needful by undertaking the exercise as regards the applications of the present petitioners and applicants as expeditiously as possibly preferably within a period of two months from today.
It has also been directed that the BOCA would inform the applicants/petitioners seeking renovation or repairs of their structures accordingly and place all such final orders passed by the BOCA before the court, so that any construction by way of renovation/repair or fresh construction can take place after the final order is passed by the court on the decisions taken by the BOCA.
Court has been informed by the amicus to the PIL that while matters relating to grant of permission for renovation or repair and construction are being monitored by the court in this PIL, some persons have been unauthorisedly making constructions and in this regard, he has placed some photographs in which it appears that certain constructions appear to be going on in Sonamarg area, specifically after a transfer order was passed on 24.05.2024, whereunder the earlier Chief Executive Officer was transferred and was directed to await further orders of adjustment and in the meantime, the Additional Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal was directed to hold charge of the post of Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Department Authority Sonamarg, in addition to his own duties.
In addition to these submissions he has also submitted that various other flagrant violations are going on not in Sonamarg for which he is at liberty to bring to the notice of the court.
On asking by the court about these flagrant violations, he submitted that unauthorized construction appears to be going on at a site which belongs to one Farooq Hafiz, where the construction of second storey being carried out measuring about 70/100 feet at Sonamarg.
Court directed the SDA counsel to take necessary instructions and report to the court on 07.06.2024, about the alleged construction without permission.

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Kashmir Tourism State