NGT BANS MORE THAN TWO-STOREYED CONSTRUCTION IN SHIMLA

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Sharat Verma

Shimla, The Hush Post: New construction has been banned in the green, core and forest areas including the entire area around the circular Cart Road of the Queen of Hills, Shimla in a big order passed by the National Green Tribunal. In a 165-page order passed by the NGT Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar, 29 directives have been issued and the town’s development plan has been asked to be put into place within three months. The orders were passed on a petition filed by environmentalist Yogendra Mohan Sengupta in May, 2014. The core area includes about seventy per cent of the town around the Cart Road starting from Victory Tunnel to the Lift area to Chotta Shimla crossing Sanjauli, Lakkar Baazar bus stand and reaching the Victory Tunnel back.

The restricted road starts from the Railway Board building to Summer Hill and from Boileauganj Chowk through the upper road to the Victory Tunnel. No construction will be allowed up to 3 metres on both sides of the national highway across the state. A Rs five lakh fine will be imposed on cutting trees and hills. Not more than two-and-half-storeyed buildings will be allowed in Shimla. The departments concerned have been asked to remove all unauthorised constructions in three weeks time. Those who have already applied for regularisation before November 13, 2017 have been exempted. They will have to get it regularised by paying up the fees of Rs 5,000 per square feet for residential houses and Rs 10, 000 per feet for commercial establishments. This is apart from other fees to be paid to the government departments. Any kind of unauthorised construction has been banned throughout the state.

The expert committed constituted to look into implementation of the NGT order has two panels — supervisory committee and the implementation committee. The supervisory panel which has Director Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun; National Disaster Management Authority and Punjab Engineering College, Secretary Town and Country Planning, Director Town and Country Planning, Member Secretary HP Pollution Control Board will meet every three months. The nine-member Implementation Committee will meet every month under Director, Town and Country Planning. Other members include Shimla Municipal Commissioner, and experts from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.

It also bars TCP department to regularise unauthorised constructions in 17 other green belts and core areas. A high-level committee has also been constituted to survey the earthquake-affected buildings.

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