18 encroachments on ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’


    The Himachal Pradesh High Court (HP HC) today directed Deputy Commissioner Kangra to pass demolition order of a Shopping mall built up on the land belonging to HP State at Palampur in district Kangra stating that respondent raised the construction without the consent of Railway and other authorities. The Court also directed three top Railway Officer of Ambala to remain present in the Court on next date of hearing after finding that 18 encroachments were existing on UNESCO world heritage site.


    The Division bench of acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel passed the order during hearing a petition today regarding encroachment of Railway lands and unauthorized constructions on the public infrastructure. This Court is consistently monitoring the litigation with respect to encroachment over Government land observed in the order today that sensitivity which is required to be exhibited by the officers in dealing with such like matters is absolutely non-existent.


    Considering reply of Senior Section Engineer, Permanent Way, Palampur Mr. Kuldeep Singh on the construction of Shopping mall court said that ex-facie construction raised by the respondent is illegal as no permissions were obtained prior to commencement construction Moreover the land use to raised construction belongs to the State evident from the reply. ”Deputy Commissioner, Kangra should forthwith demolish the said construction, if necessary, the police force should be deployed and the Superintendent of Police, Kangra to ensure all necessary assistance is rendered in that regard.” Bench ordered. “Needless to add, the cost incurred for the demolition of the superstructure should eventually be borne by respondent and to be recovered as arrears of land revenue. Till then, the machinery of the State shall be used.” Court said.


    The Court also observed that on ‘Kalka-Shimla Heritage Track’, ‘UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE’, the officer has only indicated that 18 persons raised constructions by encroaching the land belonging to the Railway. Significantly, all these pertain to the railway track for a short distance, i.e. Shimla to Jutogh. Similar is the position with regard to other railway tracks, namely, ‘Pathankot-Jogindernagar’ and
    ‘Nangal-Talwara’ falling within the territorial limits of the State of Himachal Pradesh.


    The Court directed Mr. Sushil Kumar, Senior Divisional Engineer-II, Firozpur, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Amad, Senior Divisional Engineer-IV, Ambala and Mr. Shalinder Kumar, Senior Divisional Engineer-III, Ambala to personally remain present in Court on the next date of hearing. Fixing the next date of hearing in the matter High Court directed the railway authority to file the fresh affidavit in the case listing the matter for July 31.

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    ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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