Shimla: Himachal Cabinet Ministers have welcomed decision of the Supreme Court of India for upholding the orders of National Green Tribunal issued in 2016 for demolition of Hotel cum Restaurant – constructed on forest land at Mcleodganj in Dharamshala.

In a joint statement, Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Industries and Transport Minister Bikram Singh and Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania said that the decision has yet again exposed the misdeeds and illegal practices committed during the tenure of the previous government.

Ministers claimed that the hotel was constructed by a private investor in connivance with the senior Congress leaders and norms were flouted and illegal construction was made under political patronage, they further alleged. They elaborated  

“the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the basis of Civil Appeal, has appointed District and Session Judge Kangra as Inquiry Officer on 9th September, 2016 to look into the irregularities of the construction of Bus Stand as well as Hotel and the Restaurant. Inquiry Officer submitted the report to Hon’ble Supreme Court in the year 2018. And in its report, it was found that neither the map was approved from Town and Country Planning Department nor clearance was sought under Forest Conservation Act. Even changes of land use were made without seeking permission from the competent authority. And more interesting that the hotel was constructed in a place where bus stand was to be built”

The National Green Tribunal in its order in 2016 had directed the defaulter to raze the illegal structure.

BJP leaders alleged that despite NGT order the previous government neither demolished the illegal structure nor took any action against the guilty. And even approached Apex Court against the decision of NGT, ministers further added.

The Ministers said that this was a glaring example of corruption, nepotism and favouritism, which was at its peak during the tenure of the previous Congress Government and rules and regulations were kept aside to appease their favourites.

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