Shimla Municipal Corporation has demanded its representative in recently constituted expert committee for checking rapid construction activities in the town.

Shimla MC Deputy Mayor, Tikender Panwar, in a letter to Swantanter Kumar, Chairperson National Green Tribunal (NGT), urged to include a representative of the Shimla MC either the Commissioner or Senior Architect planner. Panwar pleaded that these officials are continuously engaged with the present day reality. He said

“minus Shimla MC it would be an exercise which is thrusted upon from the top and not totally ingrained”

Panwar in his letter, apprised green tribunal that Shimla MC working with the Interim Development Plan of 1977-78, and recently the Department of Town and Country Planning has shortlisted agency to prepare the Development Plan for the town with a statutory status. Panwar urged NGT to link committee with the preparation of master plan team. He pleaded

“Since a specialist from School of Planning and Architecture will be there (in the 8 member team) who have prepared a master plan for a hill town of Mount Abu under the aegis of Hon’ble Supreme Court , hence it will be quite relevant for such a linkage. This linkage should also have multi stake holder discussions so that ultimately this town is benefitted”

Aiming to check rapid construction activity in Shimla MC and its adverse effect on the ecology, the NGT has constituted eight members expert committee of a senior officer from National Disaster Management Authority, senior scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, and ecological expert from GB Pant Institute, Chief Town Planner Shimla and or senior Architect (Planner) from Public Works Department, a senior scientist from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and a professor from School of Planning and Architect, New Delhi, senior scientist from the Institute of Himalaya Forest Research Institute.

Additional Chief Secretary (Environment) of Himachal Pradesh shall be the nodal officer and shall ensure the compliance of the tribunal’s order.

The NGT bench, headed by Chairperson Swatanter Kumar, directed the committee to submit its report within six weeks. Bench observed that the rapid construction is adversely affecting the environment ecology. Shimla MC generates nearly 60 to 70 metric tons of solid municipal waste every day and has no plan to deal with the disposal of waste, it further observed.

The Green Tribunal also showed concern over increasing air pollution in Shimla MC and indiscriminate cutting of forest.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.