Govt analyzing NGT order that bans construction in Shimla


Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary V C Pharka said that the Government is analyzing National Green Tribunal order to ban the construction activities in Shimla town and to give respite to people who may be affected by it. He said that State is analyzing the NGT order and after that, it would decide next course of action to move in the Court against it or not. He said that we have not decided yet to proceed against it in the Supreme Court to stayed the order or file review petition before the NGT. It would be done after going through the order made by the NGT recently and a meeting has been convened today to analyzing the outcome of order.

He said that Shimla MC and various resident and welfare association have condemned the recent NGT order imposing the ban on all type of construction activities in this capital town. Shimla Municipal Corporation, Upnagriya Jan Kalyan Samiti(UNJKS) and Shimla Nagrik Sabha (SNS) have been handed over its resolution to file a review petition against the order, he said. The State Administration along with Secretary urban development and director town and country planning has decided go through the order on last Saturday and decision has been taken to constitute a committee to take the decision, CS informed. He said that the opinion of law department has been sought to file the petition against the order.

Convenor of UNJKS, Mr. Govind Chitranta told UNI that they have urged the government to file the review petition against the NGT order and exhaust the channel of law before directly taking stay in the Supreme court. We hope that State would file the review petition before the NGT before moving to SC to seek to stay against the order, Mr Chitranta said. Terming NGT order imposing the blanket ban on all new construction unrealistic and away from the ground reality, he claimed that decision would directly affect about 25 to 30 thousand house owners of this town. Mr Chitranta said that a meeting was convened on December 6 to further discuss the issue and choke out the further strategy to face the emergent situation.

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Convener of SNS Mr Bajinder Mehra has been convened at the convention on the issue on Dec 2 which was attended by a large number of people belonged to all political parties and various trade unions and business organisations. In a general meeting held on Nov 29, Shimla MC also had passed a unanimous resolution to urge the government to filed review petition in the NGT. 145-page order of 4 member panel of NGT led by Chairperson Swatanter Kumar had imposed the ban on construction in core areas of the town, including its green belt to prevent indiscriminate constructions and the threat to its citizens. The NGT also has enforced the ban on regularization of illegal and unauthorized construction, which both political parties Cong and BJP had been backing to gain votes.

It had proposed a heavy penalty and environmental compensation for regularization of such buildings or floors. “We hereby prohibit new construction of any kind, i.e. residential, institutional and commercial in any part of the core and green or forest areas as defined under various notifications issued under the interim development plan as well as by the state government,” the order said. The order held that the carrying capacity of Shimla cannot afford more building load, traffic load and destruction of its green belt. “The roads of Shimla are choked. Visitors and residents are always stuck in traffic jams. There has been continuous and persistent degradation of the environment and ecology in that area raising serious concerns,” said the NGT, which had earlier got a detailed study done on the carrying capacity of the town.

The green tribunal also banned all types of construction, residential or commercial, in any part of the “green, forest and core areas” of the entire state and within three metres of the national highways. The NGT has also directed the state chief secretary to prepare master planning of town in compliance with this said decision.

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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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