Pahalgam, Oct 7: Residents from nine villages in the Pahalgam area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district have appealed to the administration for permission to repair their dilapidated houses, which they said are on the brink of collapse.
Locals of Pahalgam, Ganeshbal, Rangward and Mandalan informed that they have been confined to single rooms for decades, awaiting approval for construction work.
According to them, despite the imminent threat of hundreds of houses collapsing, authorities have denied permission for any construction or repair activities.
The residents have alleged that influential individuals from other regions are receiving approvals, while local residents are being unfairly restricted.
“We have been waiting for several years for permission, but our requests remain pending without explanation,” they lamented. The residents said they bear the brunt, while wealthier individuals can afford construction permissions.
“This land belongs to us. If we are not permitted to build here, where are we supposed to go?” they questioned. They demanded that the government either grant permission for construction after a thorough inspection or allocate alternative land for housing construction.
The residents urged the government to establish an impartial team to assess the validity of their requests.
It is pertinent to note that the High Court in 2010 imposed a comprehensive ban on the construction and maintenance of both commercial and residential structures in Pahalgam in response to a public interest litigation (PIL). This directive mandated the development of a new master plan, deeming the previous one inadequate.
The locals have requested the Lieutenant Governor, Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, and the CEO of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) to personally intervene in this matter and permit them to carry out essential repair work.
In response, the Chief Executive Officer of Pahalgam Development Authority, Tariq Hussain Naik said that the PDA has initiated a door-to-door survey to assess the requirements of local residents.
“I have personally visited homes to evaluate their essential needs, and upon verification, they will be permitted to initiate repair work on their houses, ensuring habitability,” he affirmed.