The High Court on Thursday permitted Army to raise construction of the Transit Camp, High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS), at Sonamarg.
The division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar directed Buildings Operation and Control Authority (BOCA) and the Chief Town Planner Kashmir to inspect the ongoing constructions and to point out any rectifications which are required to be undertaken by the army.
The direction was passed after the counsel representing the petitioner Assistant Solicitor General of India, Tahir Majid Shamsi pointed out that despite the passage of six months, BOCA has not moved at all in the matter.
He further pointed out that the petitioner has only two months left now before weather conditions and the construction thereafter would be rendered impossible in the area.
After hearing the counsel the bench said that keeping in view of the imperative need of the armed forces as well as the security of their personnel, it is evident that the matter brooks no further delay.
The bench remarked that without prejudice to the rights and contentions of both sides, the petitioner is permitted to raise construction of the Transit Camp at Sonamarg as has been proposed in the submission made to BOCA on 12 December 2018.
The counsel representing State MA Chashoo submitted a status report filed by Chief Secretary of the State before the Court stating that a decision has been taken for reserving/converting/declaring an area as a “Strategic Area” for direct operational and training requirements of Armed Forces.
After perusing the report, Court observed that the decision is concerned with the requirements of the army which may arise in the future.
It would appear that this decision is concerned with the requirements of the army which may arise in the future.
“However, the matter which is under consideration in the writ petition does not appear to have placed for consideration in the meeting which was held on 28 June 2019,” Court said.
The bench remarked that the matter of raising the construction of the Transit Camp on the site which is in the possession of the army and is being utilized as a Transit Camp has not been considered. Court listed the matter in 28 August 2019 Earlier, Court had directed the Chief Secretary Jammu Kashmir to examine the contentions of the Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) and Indian Army over the construction of Transit Camp at Sonamarg by Indian Army.
In previous hearing, Court had directed that the constructions shall be subject to inspection by the competent authority of the SDA.
“The objections which may be pointed out would be addressed by the petitioner,” Court said.
The petition filed by Indian army states that since 1998, a Transit Camp has been operational in Sonamarg which remains functional from mid-April to mid-December and relocate during winter season i.e mid-December to mid April keeping in view of weather conditions.
It says that the existing infrastructure is inadequate to house the staff in transits so for that reason, it is proposed to reconstruct and improve the existing infrastructure by raising the necessary permanent housing structure.