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Himachal

Posted at: May 17, 2018, 12:47 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 12:47 AM (IST)FRAGILE ECOLOGY

Blanket ban on new constructions in Kasauli

Pollution control board puts on hold consent process for new cases
Blanket ban on new constructions in Kasauli

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, May 16

A blanket ban has been imposed on fresh permissions under Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms, Act, 1972, for outsiders buying land in the ecologically fragile Kasauli Planning Area (KPA) following directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to ban constructions.

This permission is pre-requisite for a non-Himachalis for purchasing land in the state. While all departments were treading cautiously in granting any fresh permission for new commercial projects, officials of the State Pollution Control Board have also put on hold cases of consent for the new cases.

The area houses about 72 hotels and 13 of the hotel owners had raised unauthorized constructions in violation of their approved plans.

SDO, State Pollution Control Board, Atul Parmar, said since the NGT had banned all constructions in the KPA in November 2017, no new consent to establish permissions were being issued by the board.

He confirmed that a blanket ban had been imposed on fresh permissions under section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, following the NGT directions.

With officials of various departments already facing flak for failing to check unauthorized construction of 13 hotels in the KPA, officials were ensuring that the NGT orders were complied by in letter and spirit. All eyes were now focused on the NGT directions following submission of the report on the carrying capacity of the KPA.

A nine-member expert committee had been constituted by the NGT to dwell in depth on various issues like vehicular traffic, road infrastructure, scarcity of underground water, availability of drinking water, overall impact on air quality and bio-diversity of the area.

The committee in its report took a strict note of the plethora of unplanned constructions in the KPA and it has recommended that no retention policy should be extended to this area given its fragile ecology and its likely stress on infrastructure. The panel of experts has further recommended that no relaxation in the stringent regulations in the KPA should be granted.

It also stresses the need to restrict the construction of hotels unless an organised water supply is augmented sufficiently and infrastructure for solid waste management is developed as per the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The report has noted perceived gaps in the demand and supply of physical and environmental services vis-à-vis current requirements and these need to be addressed appropriately.

The Development Plan devised in 2009 needs to be revisited by incorporating environmental concerns and seismic factor should be adopted while designing buildings as the region falls under seismic zone IV and as per the ISI classification. Other measures recommended by the panel include restricting the slope angle for construction at 35 degree for slopes covered with soil and 45 degree for rocky slopes. Widening the roads vis-à-vis traffic volume has also been emphasised.

With a view to conserving the flora and fauna of the area it has been recommended to set up a tree committee which would devise procedures for tree cutting and restoration of exotic species through plantation.

NGT team takes strict note

  • An expert committee had been constituted by the NGT to look into issues such as vehicular traffic, road infrastructure, scarcity of underground water, availability of drinking water, overall impact on air quality and bio-diversity of the area.
  • The committee in its report took a strict note of unplanned constructions.
  • It has recommended that no retention policy should be extended to this area given its fragile ecology.

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