Finalizing the draft master plan for Patnitop remains the lowest priority, even for the current government
Ministry of Tourism fails to make decision on vital issues
No benefit from huge expense incurred on document preparation
JAMMU, October 15: The finalization of the draft master plan prepared for the planned development of the famous tourist destination of Patnitop and its adjacent areas in 2017 has remained the lowest priority even for the current government, as no decisions have been made. taken on certain vital questions despite the fact that they are brought to the attention of the Tourism Department on several occasions.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that Patnitop’s first master plan was prepared in 1995 and given the massive influx of tourists over the years, the need for controlled and planned development arose. As a result, Patnitop Development Authority decided to revise the master plan and the task was assigned to the Environmental Planning and Technology Center (CEPT) Ahmedabad through a formal agreement dated September 17, 2011.
After several years of exercise, the draft master plan was put into the public domain for objections and suggestions in early 2017. However, during this exercise, it emerged that the Khasra numbers of the proposed lands for different activities were not mentioned in the draft master plan because neither the authorities of the Patnitop Development Authority paid serious attention to this vital aspect nor the CEPT requested these vital data from the revenue department.
Subsequently, the process of redesigning the draft master plan began, and then the document was again placed in the public domain to invest further objections and suggestions, sources said, adding that “all objections and suggestions as well that the comments of the authorities concerned were then submitted to CEPT for incorporation into the revised draft and submission to the Patnitop Development Authority for subsequent placement before the government for approval ”.
While waiting for the finalization of the draft master plan, the government, through formal ordinances, placed more areas under the jurisdiction of the Patnitop Development Authority, then the need to integrate these areas into the draft plan. director before the finalization of the document was felt.
“Since then there has been no further development, mainly due to the absolute lack of seriousness on the part of the tourism department, which exercises administrative control over the Patnitop Development Authority, in making decisions on some vital issues. “, said sources, adding” as CEPT has already submitted the project and got Rs 23 lakh rupees for the task, it is not ready to handle the additional task of incorporating more areas into the draft plan director “.
They revealed that during official tourism department meetings, this issue had been discussed several times but no final decision had been taken so far, even by the current government, adding that “the tourism department is required to decide how to incorporate additional areas in the Master Plan project and in the absence of a decision, the draft document collects dust in the Civil Secretariat ”.
“The loopholes that appeared as a result of the preparation of the draft master plan were the result of the non-involvement of the town planning organization in the exercise,” sources informed, adding “while taking the decision to assign the task of preparing the master plan to CEPT this vital aspect neither received the attention of the Ministry of Tourism nor of those who were in charge of the affairs of the Patnitop Development Authority at that time ”.
Sources added that “the issue that stands in the way of finalizing the draft master plan is not so complex that it cannot be resolved even after so many years. In addition, the government, especially the tourism department, should keep in mind that no benefit from expenditure of lakhs of rupees made for the preparation of the document has been obtained to date ”.
“In the absence of an appropriate master plan, the planned development of a famous tourist destination and its adjacent areas cannot be ensured, despite the fact that while dealing with a public interest dispute (PIL), a division chamber of the High Court comprising Judge Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Judge Sindhu Sharma had expressed concern over encroachments in Patnitop and adjacent areas and insisted on a swift finalization of the master plan, ”sources said.
Highlighting the haphazard developments and unorganized growth that have taken place so far, they said that “there is an urgent need for intervention so that growth can be channeled into comprehensive and holistic development with a sensitive approach to development. ecological and environmental conservation “, adding” all this is only possible when the new master plan is in place for Patnitop and adjacent areas “.