The Himachal Pradesh government on Monday filed a petition in the Supreme Court requesting that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that had banned construction of buildings in the Shimla Planning Area be quashed.
In view of the rampant construction in Shimla, the NGT, in its order of November 16, 2017, had put a complete ban on any new construction — residential, institutional and commercial — in Shimla’s core, green, and forest areas. For all other areas, the NGT had ordered that the buildings beyond two-storeys and an attic floor would not be permitted.
State Advocate General Ashok Sharma said to The Indian Express, “Today (on Monday) we filed a petition in the Supreme Court requesting that the NGT order that had banned all construction activities in Shimla be quashed.”
Mentioning Shimla’s “vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters”, the NGT order of November 2017 had objected to the “unplanned” developmental activities in Shimla. In case of a disaster, the rampant construction could result in “irreparable loss and damage to the environment, ecology and natural resources”, order had stated.
However, Sharma said, “All construction activities in Shimla take place according to the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Act, 1977. The NGT didn’t have any jurisdiction in the Act, even then it passed an order banning construction activities in Shimla. Also, the NGT order is not confined to only Shimla city. It is impacting developmental activities in an area of 250 sq-km which includes 250 villages. The NGT order is impacting development…”
The state had filed a review petition in the NGT seeking relaxations in the order. However, the NGT turned down the review petition in July, last year.