How much we love the serene, pristine environs of Kasauli!
But, like everything beautiful we are busy spoiling this too. The mindless construction spree in the hill town to make it a hot tourist destination and cater to increasing tourists, hoteliers and construction magnets are tilling the hills upside down.
Fortunately, National Green Tribunal has come to its rescue.
MATTER IN NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL’S HAND:
PLEA BEFORE NGT Against Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC):
HPTDC’s recent project to build a 42-room hotel-cum-national museum, geopark-cum-restaurant, conference hall, reception centre and park at the old site of Roscommon Annexe on Khetarpal Marg Kasauli. The applicant also emphasized that the proposed hotel would jeopardise the ecology of Kasauli town and further lead to water scarcity, felling of green trees, air, noise pollution due to vehicles and congestion of roads.
NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL JUDGMENT:
- Banned construction activity in Kasuali till further orders.
- It maintained that Kasauli hills are part of Himalayan range which is considered to be geologically weak, eco-sensitive and fragile. Hence its protection has to be given a priority in terms of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986.
- Set up a special expert committee, which will look into following:
- Assessing the effect on environment and ecology due to the project in question and activities in Kasauli at large.
- Assessment of the carrying capacity of Kasauli town in terms of tourist inflow
- Assess as to whether the project in question could be continued in the present form or further restrictions need to be imposed.
- Assess whether construction in Kasauli town be permitted or whether any restrictions need to be imposed, if so, the nature of restrictions which are to be laid down, keeping in view the seismicity and geophysical setting.
- Assess present situation of Kasauli in respect of environment, ecology, forest, sewage system, water supply, collection and disposal of municipal solid waste and the carrying capacity as well as the strength of the hills.
The committee shall include:
- An ecology expert from GB Pant Institute, Almora in Uttrakhand,
- Chief town planner of Shimla or senior architect (planner) from PWD,
- A senior scientist from the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC),
- Secretary, MoEF& CC,
- A senior scientist from the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Dehradun,
- Senior scientist from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun,
- Scientist/senior official from the Central Ground Water Board, New Delhi,
- Scientist/senior official from Central Pollution Control Board
- Member secretary, Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board shall be a member and nodal officer who shall ensure the compliance.
Source: Times of India
Image Credits: Google Images