Shimla April, 25: A committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday visited the cantonment town of Kasauli and initiated a study on various aspects pertaining to its carrying capacity. The committee headed by Member, Secretary, State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Sanjay Sood has experts from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Central Groundwater Board, Irrigation and Public Health and Town and Country Planning Department, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the Central Pollution Control Board.
The officials visited the site where a HP Tourism Development Corporation’s hotel-cum-museum was proposed to come up. They inspected the site with respect to provision for parking, rain water harvesting, sewage treatment plant, etc. The team also visited the site where the cantonment board disposes the municipal solid waste using an incinerator, revealed Sanjay Sood, Member Secretary, SPCB. They also took stock of the high rise hotels and other commercial buildings raised along the roads. An air sampling would also be conducted to verify the level of ambient air quality in the Kasauli notified area comprising Kasauli and its surrounding panchayats.
No ambient air quality study has as yet been conducted in this area which comprises fragile Himalayan ecology. It was pointed out that plethora of commercial constructions were adversely affecting the environment. A report on the carrying capacity encompassing inflow of tourists, vehicular traffic keeping in view road infrastructure, general scarcity of underground water, availability of drinking water in the town and the overall impact on the air quality and bio-diversity of the area is supposed to be presented before the NGT.
This was the first visit of the committee to the area and pertinent information on quantum of traffic, population, water availability vis-à-vis existing population, ground water level, etc., would be sought from the various departments. The NGT had earlier noted that huge commercial activity was underway in the area which had a fragile ecology. While putting a ban on fresh constructions, the NGT has directed this committee to complete this study within three months.
News Source Tribune India