Shimla, May 13
The plan of the state government to throw open the congested core area and 17 green belts of the town for construction has been put on hold as the National Green Tribunal has restrained the Town and Country Planning (TCP) department from taking any further step in pursuance of the Draft Development Plan.
Next hearing on July 22
The NGT order issued earlier also pointed out that the Chief Secretary would be held personally accountable for any violation of the orders. The case will now come up for hearing before the NGT on July 22
The NGT order issued yesterday also pointed out that the Chief Secretary would be held personally accountable for any violation of the orders. The case will now come up for hearing before the NGT on July 22. “Himachal Pradesh is trying to assume jurisdiction of appellate authority over the NGT, in breach of rule of law, not expected from a lawful government which has to work as per law and the Constitution and not as per its fancies as appears to be the case,” the court order read.
“Our attention has been particularly drawn to the draft plan permitting construction of more floors, new constructions in the core area, constructions in green area, permitting development in sinking and sliding area in violation of the order of this Tribunal. If the state proceeds in such a manner, not only will it damage the rule of law, it may result in disastrous consequences for environment,” the order read.
The applicant Yogendra Mohan Sengupta, had pleaded that the Shimla Draft Development Plan was contrary to the sustainable development principle and destructive of environment and public safety. Despite 98 objections and suggestions to the Draft Development Plan, including very vociferous opposition by environmentalists and academicians against opening of the green and core areas to construction, the state government allegedly wanted to oblige the powerful realtors’ lobby and those who have raised constructions in violation of the TCP norms.
With an eye on the Assembly elections, scheduled to be held later this year, the state government had proposed to allow construction activity in the 17 green belts which have remained a ‘no construction zone’ since December 2000.
The authorities had also proposed allowing construction of two and a half storey buildings in the core area, in violation of the November 16 NGT order, through which a complete ban on new constructions had been imposed. The NGT took a stern view of the fact that the state government had gone ahead with the Shimla Draft Development Plan, which has been notified and given the Cabinet nod.