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Despite HC’s directive, Pahalgam inhabitants await permission for repair of dilapidated houses
ESS AHMAD
ANANTNAG, Dec 6: In a little breather for the inhabitants of Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir high court had earlier in early October had asked the Pahalgam development authority (PDA) to grant permission for repair and renovations of residential houses with the consent of Building Operations and Controlling Authority (BOCA).

Following the court and Chief Minister’s directions the residents of Pahalgam had turned jubilant hoping that they will be able to at least carry our repairs in their dilapidated houses after eight long years and they started submitting applications for permission for the same. However, nearly two months have passed but the people of the tourist resort are yet to get any relief from the authorities meant to implement the court directions.

Scores of people who spoke to this correspondent complained that the authorities concerned have not bothered to follow the court directions with regard to providing some sort of succor to them.

President Pahalgam Welfare Association, Nazir Ahmad Shiekh said that though hundreds of people have applied for permission for repairs of their houses but none of them has been granted the same so far.

"Though rich hoteliers directly seek permissions for renovation from the court and under the garb of the same build new structures but hundreds of applications of the gullible inhabitants of the area are gathering dust in the office of PDA," Shiekh said.

Many families comprising of over dozen members, he said, are living in miserable conditions in their dilapidated two or three roomed houses which have suffered extensive damage since 2010 when the high court banned constructions and repairs on both residential and commercial structures in the ecologically fragile tourist spot in response to a PIL filed by a local group.

Even the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti during a public darbar held earlier last month had directed the deputy commissioner Anantnag and CEO PDA who happen to be chairman and secretary of the BOCA to hold two at least meetings in a month in Pahalgam to clear the applications submitted by the locals for permission. However locals complain that the officials did not heed the CMs directions.

"After the HC directions the officials at PDA are telling us to submit the applications with the BOCA chairman who is DC Anantnag and when people visit his office with their applications the officials there are telling us to submit the same with PDA only. The hapless residents now keep on moving from PDA to DC office with their applications," Shiekh said.

Another local social activist Mushtaq Pahalgami said that the court directive to the officials to grant permission for repairs has not given any respite to the local residents due to the callous attitude of the officials supposed to implement the directive.

"Local people are suffering badly as they are the ones who regarded and respected the HC ban on constructions and repairs. Now the honorable court had provided some relief but the officials continue to be callous towards their suffering. If they failed to abide by court directions we will again lodge complaint with the court," Pahalgami said.

Another local Nazir Ahmad said that after the court directions he had hoped that he will be granted permission for renovation of his dilapidated small house which he has been seeking for last five years but nothing happened.

"My living conditions are very pitiable. I have four children including two daughters of marriageable age and all of us have to sleep in a single room. The lack of accommodation has affected our social life. Few days back I went to PDA and officials there told me to meet DC Anantnag and today when I visited DC he told me to meet me at Pahalgam on Saturday," Nazir said.

PDA CEO and secretary BOCA, Mushtaq Ahmad Simnani admitted that around 127 applications submitted by locals seeking permission for repairs are pending with his office.

"I am the secretary of the BOCA but chairman is the final authority to clear these applications. This is true that many families are suffering for want of repair of their houses. Now DC sahab has called a meeting of BOCA on 9th of this month and many such applications are expected to be cleared in that meeting," CEO said.


News Updated at : Thursday, December 7, 2017
 
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