Shimla, Sep 22: Taking a serious note of the delay by various agencies in furnishing information sought by it, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has made it clear that it will no longer permit further delay which is hampering the passing of the judgment with regard to allowing further constructions in Shimla and its surroundings.
The NGT, in its order passed on September 13, has come down heavily on various agencies, including the Town and Country Planning and the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC), for not providing information on the status of constructions in core and forest areas of the capital.
The government had sought third adjournment which evoked the strong response from the NGT. The next court hearing is on September 22. “The delay in judgment cannot be permitted on account of non-furnishing of instructions by the state and local authorities. This will not be permitted any longer,” the court observed.
The court went to the extent of observing that in case of further delay, it will be compelled to pass appropriate orders. The NGT had constituted an expert committee to assess the carrying capacity of Shimla hills with regard to fresh constructions not just in the green belts but also in the entire Shimla Planning Area. Despite the committee submitting its report, the matter is being delayed for want of information from various agencies.
Considering the fact that Shimla falls in Zone IV seismic zone, the NGT had sought information with regard to landslides that had taken place in Shimla in 2017 and the damage caused by it. Citing the Report Number 3 by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the court remarked that the SMC had no record of the permissible slope in case of 2,459 buildings in Sanjauli, Krishna Nagar and Kangnadhar built between 2011-16.
As per norms, construction can be undertaken only on the permissible slope up to 45 degrees. The NGT also wanted information about the haphazard construction of buildings with no space for rescue operations and it may result in abnormally high casualties during a disaster.
The data relating to unauthorised constructions falling under the jurisdiction of the MC, Shimla, was not available with MC.The CAG in its report had mentioned that under six retention policies, framed by Himachal Government between 1997 to 2009, 5,149 cases of unauthorized construction were received for regularisation.
Out of this, 2,106 cases were regularised after charging the compounding fee while 3,043 cases were rejected because the deviations exceeded permissible limit. No action had been taken in case of unauthorized constructions.
Source Tribune India