Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 2
Coming out strongly against the move of the Himachal Government to regularize all unauthorized constructions in the state, environmentalist Yogendra Mohan Sengupta and Jan Abhiyan Sansthan today met Governor Acharya Devvrat urging him not to give consent to the amendments in Town and Country Planning Act which will pave the way for the legalizing all illegal structures.
Sengupta, accompanied by Dimple Oberoi, environment activist and Richa Minocha, Member Secretary of the Jan Abhiyan Sansthan and other activists today knocked at the door of the Raj Bhawan to impress upon the Governor that immense damage would be caused not just to the state capital but the entire state in case the Bill gets approval. It is on the petition filed by Sengupta that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the state government not to allow any construction in the 17 green belts of the town. In fact, the NGT had constituted an expert committee to assess whether the town and the Shimla hill can bear the burden of more constructions.
“Such regularisation of unauthorised constructions/ encroachments on public land will render a number of enactments like Indian Forest Act 1927, Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act, 1953 and Town and Country Planning Act, 1977 nugatory and otiose,” said Sengupta.
Minocha said a representation, signed by several ecologists, environmentalists and concerned citizens of the state had been submitted to the Governor on October 26, urging him not give his consent to the Bill. “If such a Bill was to become an Act, Shimla getting extinct would be only a matter of time,” remarked Minocha. She added that there was a sudden spate in illegal constructions overnight since the Bill was passed by the Vidhan Sabha in April,” she stated.
In its order on May 30, 2015, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had restrained the state government and Shimla Municipal Corporation from permitting any construction activity in the 17 green belts notified on December 7, 2000. One of the main reasons cited by the NGT in its orders was that Shimla had already gone much beyond its carrying capacity.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition PK Dhumal, Town and Country Planning Minister Sudhir Sharma and local BJP MLA Suresh Bhardwaj have requested the Governor to give consent to the Bill. However, the Governor not reacted so far.
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