Flip-Flop policy of State responsible for unregulated construction: SUJKS

The Shimla Upnagarya Jan Kalyan Samiti (SUJKS) steering people of Shimla town to give them justice after the blanket ban on all type of construction activity by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), blamed the State Government responsible for the flip-flop policy on the development plan and coming up of unregulated construction. The Convener of SUJKS and general secretary of Shimla Jan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti (SJSSS) Mr. Govind Chitranta said that State Government failed to constitute Final Development Plan and this flip-flop policy led to the unregulated construction in the British Raj day townships.

He said that SJSSS was constituted on Dec 6 to represents the affected people and parties likely to be suffering from the tribunal recent order imposing the ban on all type of construction. ”It is not the people who could be blamed for the unregulated construction and mushrooming of new outgrowth in Shimla town, however, lack of any plan is the main cause and responsible for present chaos for which NGT passed the order which would affect general public at large” Mr. Chitranta rued.

Quoting state government figures on the present mess up he said that due to the indecisiveness of state authority, National Green Tribunal hammered down all type of construction here. NGT order seemed to be correct on this points that lack of Development plan is the reason that TCP and Shimla MC Act could not stop unregulated construction in the town for so many years. He said that NGT has now ordered the state government to come out with Master Development Plan for British Raj day town by completing it within the four months of the order.

It is sheer un-pragmatic and flip-flop policy of successive state governments and civic bodies that now its officers and local people are in the trap of NGT as which order demanded action against the errant officers who had allowed unchecked and unregulated development. Mr. Chitranga pointed out that no development plan was finalized for last 38 yrs after coming into effect Town and Country Planning act, therefore, the owners of such houses should not be blamed for the constructions. ”It took nearly ten years to form an interim Development Plan(IDP) for the government as first so-called IDP was constituted in 1977 however it equally ridicules that to favour the builders and some commercials constructions state amended the IDP 18 times in last 38 years” he asserted.

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Mr. Chitranta who is the pioneer to wage the battle to give one-time relaxation to the people of outskirts got merged in the Civic body latter, said that NGT order also mentioned that only 9286 authorized construction exists in the Shimla town however 5193 are partially authorized but not fully regulated. As many as 3392 constructions are one or two stories, which could not be completed after taking approval, About 1801 buildings are traced unapproved and 5000 building owners never bother to apply for regularized despite Town and Country Planning and Shimla MC brought nine retention policies to regulate such unregulated construction.

He said that in the Merged area there are about 35000 buildings stated taken approval for the construction. He said that number of unregulated buildings was constructed in the merged areas before they declared to merged in the planned areas. TCP Department considers all such unregulated construction which were constructed before such outskirts got merged in the Plan areas and did not issue any objection certificate to them to obtained Electricity and water connections. He said that as many 35 to 36 different organizations of the towns decided to come under joint front of SJSSS to fight their battle as they are affected by the NGT order would force the state government to file the revision petition before the NGT.

SJSS suggested the State Government to first exhaust the ground of revision before NGT and if NGT did not consider the revision petition it would file the review petition before the Supreme court to stay the order. SUJKS had convened a special convention on Dec 6 to bring about 20-25 NGOs and Residents associations within the joint front of SJSSS to wage the battle together. The front constituted with delegates from all political parties, Civic Bodies, Zila Parishad, Block Development committees and representatives of three Gram Panchayat as a number of stakeholders would have to face the outcome of NGT order if it gets in the present form.

He informed that so far State Government did not invite any public form to take their views before it moves in the NGT and SC against this order after filing the Revision, Review and Writ petition in the come days. State Chief Secretary V C Pharka said that government has formed a committee comprising the top officers of concerned departments to study and analyze the outcome of Tribunal order to further suggests the measures to take any remedial step. He said that three rounds of the meeting were held by the committee however it did not give any final advice to the state authority. We would also take the opinion of Law department if committee suggests challenging the NGT order.

There is some few sporadic group in the towns who welcomed the tribunal orders however the Mr. Chitranta said that embargo could not be imposed in the developed country since Shimla also fall under Smart City Project such step by the tribunal would be drastic against the rights of local people and Anti-development. Shimla MC has also passed a resolution to press this issue with the state government that to file the review petition against the NGT order as the decisions violate the SMC statue and ban on the unregulated construction activity in the Shimla town which also falls in the Smart City project.

Mr. Chitranta said that it has given the time frame of 20 December to the state to file revision petition and SJSSS would lodge protest after Dec 20 if the state did not go in the court or NGT. If the state did not move to the court against the said order it would have adverse reunification for the people are aggrieved by the order, he added.

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