SRINAGAR: Despite directions by Jammu and Kashmir High Court to safeguard the tourist resorts from illegal and unauthorized constructions, famous tourist resorts of Pahalgam and Gulmarg are fast turning into concrete Jungles.
Sources told Press Trust of Kashmir 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.
Sources added that 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”, they said.
Sources said that 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.
They added that only ten out of over 100 hotels in Gulmarg and only 20 out of over 150 hotels in Pahalgam have secured No Objection Certificates from SPCB the rest are functioning without the standard norms.
Sources added that the waste generated by hundreds of thousands of tourists is thrown around without any treatment or scientific management.
They said that 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.
The Jammu and Kashmir 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.
It is to mention here that hundreds of tourists from all over the country and the world moving into these destinations including half a million people are directly or indirectly involved in the tourism industry. (PTK)