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HC asks BOCA to pass orders on constructions by army in Sonamarg

SRINAGAR, MAR 03: Keeping in view the “strategic significance and security of the nation”, the High Court of J&K and Ladakh has directed the Building Operation Controlling Authority to expeditiously pass appropriate orders as regards the construction of dilapidated and new structures by the army in Sonamarg.  

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal passed on the orders on an application filed on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, seeking permission to commence construction in respect of the dilapidated structures and new construction which will be required for operation and training of the forces including providing accommodation for own and foreign officers and troops along with the allied infrastructure at Sonamarg in phases.

“Considering the fact that this pertains to the defence and security of the nation, the matter is remitted to the BOCA for grant of necessary permission,” the court said, adding, “The BOCA shall accordingly do the needful for grant of permission to the applicant-Indian Army in order to enable them to make necessary repair/fresh construction in accordance with the norms, as applicable.”

At this stage, Counsel for the defence ministry submitted that they have already approached the BOCA authorities.

“The authorities shall consider the same and pass appropriate orders keeping in mind the strategic significance and security of the nation, as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of one month,” the court said.

In its application, the defence ministry said that with the turn of events on northern borders accentuated with increased deployment of troops in those heights and thereof, there is a requirement for specialized high-altitude training required for troops deployed there.

“The military establishments at Sonamarg also act as the lifeline for the logistics and transient movement to the Ladakh Region which is huge in numbers and critically important for the Indian Army,” the ministry said.

More so, it said, the fact that the Ladakh region gets cut off during the winter season, all the logistic support is carried out from Sonamarg before the snowfall sets in.  “All these military establishments also handle the security aspects of the Amarnath yatra which takes place everywhere and has a huge footfall in this region which increases the requirements of accommodations in that area.”

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