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J&K: Govt approves master plan to develop Gulmarg into ace tourist destination

For all new constructions and reconstructions, the norms as laid down in Master Plan shall strictly be adhered to without any compromise. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi/File)

To develop Gulmarg into an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable ace tourist destination, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday approved the Gulmarg Master Plan – 2032.

The approval came at a meeting of State Administrative Council chaired by Governor Satya Pal Malik. The meeting was attended by Governor’s advisors B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and K K Sharma, besides Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and Principal Secretary to Governor Uman Narula.

In the absence of any master plan for it and surrounding areas, Gulmarg’s ecological fragile ecosystem had suffered a lot, with unstructured development, encroachment and conversion of green cover into impervious surfaces, an official release here said.

The Master Plan envisages maximizing the contribution of Gulmarg and its surroundings to the State’s economy, preserve its rich natural and cultural heritage, and at the same time provide the best hospitality, excellent value for money and memorable experiences to every visitor, apart from developing it as one of the preferred all-weather international tourist destinations by ensuring community participation without compromising on its ecological balance. For all new constructions and reconstructions, the norms as laid down in Master Plan shall strictly be adhered to without any compromise, the SAC observed.

The main features of the Master Plan Gulmarg-2032 inter-alia include the development of Tangmarg Area in the vicinity of Gulmarg as a satellite-tourist township with flexible set of Development Control Regulations (DCRs) to attract developers for high-end tourism infrastructure. This concept is aimed at reducing further footprint of development in Gulmarg which has very limited carrying capacity.

Significant part of GDA especially Gulmarg, Khillanmarg, Botapathri and nearby areas included in the territorial jurisdiction of Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary/Biosphere reserve etc will not be used for any high built up infrastructure development other than what is proposed in view of ecological constraints and sensitivities involved. Instead such areas have been proposed for leisure- tourism, eco-tourism, and adventure tourism.

The expansion of existing footprints of tourism infrastructure shall be allowed in accordance with the norms laid down in the Master Plan document, besides it also provides for Facade control/design guidelines along with DCRs which are very important for imageability of the destination.

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