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Posted at: Jun 23, 2018, 12:05 AM; last updated: Jun 23, 2018, 12:05 AM (IST)

Sec 144, weapon ban in Kasol, Manikaran

Drive against illegal hotels from June 25
Sec 144, weapon ban in Kasol, Manikaran

Tribune reporters

Mandi/Kullu, June 22

As the Kullu administration is all set to seal illegal hotels and restaurants at Kasol, Manikaran and Jari from June 25, Deputy Commissioner Yunus Khan on Friday imposed Section 144 in the region for an indefinite period. He also banned the carrying of weapons in the areas for two months to ensure the safety of field officers.

The move comes after the High Court directed the district administration to act against offenders.

The DC asked the people to deposit their licensed weapons to nearby police stations within three days. He said no person other than security personnel and the police executing their duty would be allowed to carry weapon. The drive against illegal properties is expected from Monday.

“To implement the court orders, Section 144 has been imposed at Kasol, Manikaran, Jari and other places, where illegal structures will be sealed in the coming days,” said the DC.

There was a petition filed in public interest in the High Court, in which it was alleged that a few hotels were running narcotic business, while many were constructed on encroached land. This prompted the High Court to direct the district administration to conduct an inquiry to find out the reality.

The DC said: “The owners of these 48 illegal commercial establishments have been asked to vacate their property in time or else these will be sealed. We are taking all necessary steps to execute the court orders. All departments have been asked to coordinate.”

Kullu SP Shalini Agnihotri said: “The police will help the administration execute the court orders. All measures will be taken to deal with any situation.” Ever since the court and the NGT directed the administration to inquire about illegal commercial structures in the district, hoteliers have been tense and pressing the state government to relax the town and country planning rules.

Many of them have complained of difficulties in completing the formalities as their respective areas have been listed under the Special Area Development Authority (SADA) since 2005. Manikaran Valley Hotel Association president Krishan Thakur said since the area of Kasol was less than 100 bigha and that of Manikaran less than 30 bigha, it shouldn’t be under SADA. He urged the authorities to allow some relaxation in norms for registration of tourism-related establishments due to topography of the area.

Many foreign nationals, especially from Israel, visit Kasol. However, the valley has gain notoriety for drugs and other illegal activities.

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