Alarmed over growing chaos on Shimla roads and unregulated mobility of the vehicles, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has cracked its whip, asking Himachal Pradesh government to impose a green fee of Rs 500 on vehicles coming close to the Mall road on the principle of ‘polluter’ pays.
The government has also been directed to make traffic mobility one-way on Shimla’s cart road and notify certain areas as ‘silence zones’ to check noise pollution .
Passing the orders on a case filed by one Perma Nand Khanta, the NGT directed the government to put sign boards to declare “silence zones” to impose a complete prohibition on horns or other sources of noise within 100 meters of such zones.
“State to consider one way traffic in Shimla to avoid air pollution. Cars going on the restricted roads and emitting smoke to pay environment compensation of Rs.500 on each event,” the order said.
A bench headed by Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar said that the some concrete steps of material consequences were required to be taken at earliest. “If not taken now, the day is not far when ambient air quality of Shimla will deteriorate to an undesirable level, causing health hazards and the noise pollution would make it difficult for the residents of Shimla to live a peaceful and enjoyable life”.
The NGT issued directions to Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Secretary (Transport) and Director General of Police to take immediate steps to strictly comply the directions. The Tribunal said the air and noise pollution in Shimla was increasing and traffic congestion was one of the major contributors to such excessive pollution.
There was also a direction to the government to review all sealed and restricted roads to ensure that no parking was allowed on the sealed roads. It gave government three months to enforce the order.
The NGT had earlier ordered the government to set-up a high level committee to study carrying capacity of Shimla in terms of constructions, traffic mobility and civic infrastructure. Additional Chief Secretary (Forest and Environment) is heading the committee, which has already held its first meeting two weeks back.