Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devrat finally gave his consent to the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that would pave way for the regularization of over 25000 unauthorized structures across the state.

It’s learned that the Governor has signed the Bill (was pending with him from last five months) and sent it to the government.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly in August, 2016 had passed the bill to pave way to regularize the illegally raised structure across the state. After passing it in the assembly, the bill was sent to the Governor for his consent but he took time to pass the bill. Being a matter directly affecting a good number of electorates and fearing possible poll setback for both political major – leaders of ruling Congress and Opposition BJP called on Governor – requesting him for early approval to the bill.

Even TCP Minister Sudhir Sharma, in December 2016, written to the Governor, claiming that uncertainty over the Bill is encouraging violators and the department is not in a position to check this. He further requested the Governor either to approve, reject or return the bill with his suggestions. However, the Governor on December 31, 2016 written to the state government seeking some clarification including structural stability of buildings, action against the officials who failed to check illegal construction all these years and whether amendment in the bill is contradictory to the high court order. And in its reply, state government made it clear that buildings would not be regularized without structural safety certificate.

The state government has evidently failed to check the illegal construction in the state (especially in Shimla city) and bucking under the political pressure or rather say vote bank politics, the Government has amended the bill to allow the violator to rob the city.

The Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill, 2016, is nothing short of a victory for the violators, who had tossed all the rules and regulation of the land in the air and raised structures illegally in the past two decades. Though the Govt claiming it a one-time relaxation, but such claims had already been made earlier to woo voters and please wealthy or politically influential people.

The state lies of the Seismic Zone IV, very prone to the high-magnitude quake, and despite the fact state authority had played a perfect role of a mute spectator as large number of both residential and commercial structures had erected illegally, ignoring all parameters set by the Municipal Corporation. Today many of us might be rejoicing, but the hidden peril of Amendment of this important Bill will definitely hunt us in coming time.