Official apathy

Filed under: Editorial |

Sonamarg Development Authority along with other wings of the government like Tourism Department has only tried to blame each other for the present mess in this tourist resort. Dozens of hotels with rooms more than approved on the files are already in business. There are dozens of construction works going on the more hotels within the green bowl of Sonamarg health resort. The authorities have failed to save the environment of the area as all these constructions are being done at the base of ecologically fragile Thajiwas Glacier and its Wildlife Sanctuary.

As per Master Plan 44 hectares of land has been earmarked for the constructions and so far only they have given permission upto 42 hectares of land. All these approvals have been given according to the Master Plan and as per the Environment Act, is the answer to the questions of environmentalists to the government. Using of green bowl by the Town Planners for the constructions was a wrong decision, say the environmentalists, who are concerned about the failure of the government to curb such activities.  They have appealed State Governor Satya Pal Malik to look into the plight of Sonamarg health resort and save it from the further decay. They have appealed State Governor to take some steps and reverse the Master Plan approved in the past and instead allow only tented accommodation for tourists within the green bowl so that it is saved.

The Thajiwas Glacier has receded to great extent and has been reduced at the base to vast valley, full of stones and land mass. The base of Glacier has been turned into a `mini market’ with hundreds of tourists getting meals and tea prepared there and recently authorities have imposed a ban on such activities.

Thajiwas Wildlife Sanctuary, Thajiwas Glacier and green bowl of Sonamarg meadow are at the verge of extinction, with authorities shifting the blame and politicians trying to appease locals. The role of Raj Bhawan becomes more important as this is the time when such wrongs of the past can be corrected for the future of Kashmir.

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