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Despite court ban no end to illegal construction at Pahalgam
ANANTNAG, Oct 30: Despite the directive of the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Anantnag banning any construction at ‘Yanner’ a picturesque spot located on a Lidder bank seven kilometers down to Pahalgam, dozens of fresh illegal constructions are going on in the area under the nose of the authorities.

Three years ago when the high court in response to the public interest litigation (PIL) imposed ban on all sorts of constructions in Pahalgam, the land mafia shifted its focus to ‘Yanner’ and started purchase and sale of the land in the area. During last few years’ dozens of illegal constructions came up on the spot that too on the banks of the Lidder posing threat not only to its crystal clear waters but also to the fragile environs of the spot.

Following the unabated constructions at the picturesque spot the former CJM, Anantnag, who had been directed by the high court to monitor weather, the ban imposed by it on the constructions within the ambit of PDA is being implemented or not issued an order banning the constructions at Yanner also. The judge in its order directed Tehsildar, Pahalgam, not to allow any construction at the spot and had even asked him to demolish the then under construction huts.

Notwithstanding the court order, many huts came up on the spot only this year and nearly a dozen more are under construction. At least a dozen huts could be seen being constructed at the spot, that too on a Lidder bank brazenly violating the court order. Sources and a group of locals allege that the authorities having been assigned the job not to allow any construction in the area by the honorable court are in deep nexus with the land mafia. “This spot for its scenic beauty is fast emerging as a tourist destination. But the land mafia in nexus with the authorities is hell bent on ravaging its beauty for their monetary benefits,” a group of locals told Kashmir Times.

They said that most of the huts having come up at the spot illegally belong to the politically influential people and that is why the authorities don’t dare to touch them. “We approached the concerned authorities several times asking them why they don’t implement the court order with regard to the ban on constructions at the spot but they never gave any heed to us,” said a local wishing anonymity.

Keeping in view the tourism potential of the spot the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA), also sent a proposal to the government for bringing the area within its jurisdiction. However, sources said that the government is deliberately causing delay in notifying the area for the purpose as most of the people having purchased the land for constructions of huts and hotels there happen to the politically influential.

An official of the PDA, pleading anonymity said that though the area does not fall in their jurisdiction so they cannot stop anybody from construction there. “The court had directed the concerned departments like Revenue, Fisheries and Irrigation and flood control under whose jurisdiction the area falls not to allow any construction at the spot but all of them failed to do implement the court order for reasons known to them only,” the official said.

Tehsildar, Pahalgam, Mohammad Yousuf Mir, when contacted said that they are implementing the orders of the court in letter and spirit. Besides, he said, there are strict directions from the deputy commissioner, Anantnag not to allow any construction at the spot.

“Only a week ago, I demolished a structure which had been erected overnight. Besides two other structures constructed in recent days were also downed,” Tehsildar said. However he added that some people get the permission from the honorable court for construction. “We don’t allow any new construction at the spot. But we cannot stop the people from construction who get permission from the court,” he said.
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News Updated at : Wednesday, October 31, 2012
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