Amid curfew curbs, miscreants level hill slopes in upper Dharamsala

JCB machines being used; deodar trees, properties under threat

Amid curfew curbs, miscreants level hill slopes in upper Dharamsala

A hill being levelled along the McLeodganj-Dharamkot road on Wednesday. Photo: Kamaljeet

Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, May 12

Taking advantage of the Covid restrictions, miscreants have started levelling hill slopes in upper Dharamsala to pave the way for commercial properties.

On the McLeodganj-Dharamkot road, several green deodar trees as well as public and private properties in the area are facing threat due to the levelling of a hill slop with the help of JCB machines.

Action assured

  • Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati said action would be taken if anyone was found levelling hill slopes in violation of rules and regulations.
  • Amid the Covid surge, tourist activities have come to a halt in the area. Most hoteliers have shut their establishments and laid off staff.
  • However, the lockdown has provided an opportunity to some miscreants to carry out the nefarious activity as the authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to the matter.

Mohan Lal, a local resident, said due to unscientific excavation in the area, many deodar trees were likely to fall and perish in the monsoon. Besides, the threat of landslides had also increased.

Locals say miscreants often indulge in earth excavation on the McLeodganj-Dharamkot road just before the monsoon so that green trees fall during landslides. Otherwise, there is a ban on the felling of green deodar trees in the state. Recently, the Himachal High court had also banned the cutting of trees in the state.

Environmentalists said they had brought the issue of extensive damage to hills along the McLeodganj-Dharamkot road to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, Forest Department and the Dharamsala Municipal Corporation authorities, but no action had been taken so far.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati said action would be taken if anyone was found levelling hill slopes in violation of rules and regulations.

Upper Dharamsala region that comprises Dharamkot, McLeodganj and Bhagunag has been infamous for the levelling of hills and illegal felling of deodar trees. Following the orders of the Himachal High court, 150 hotels had lost their power connections due to the violation of building laws in 2019.

Amid the Covid surge, tourist activities have come to a halt in the area. Most hoteliers have shut their establishments and laid off staff. However, the lockdown has provided an opportunity to some miscreants to carry out the nefarious activity as the authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to the matter.

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