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Make Shimla cart road one-way street to cut traffic jams, air and noise pollution : NGT

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Cart road shimla on way street ngt

Worried on rising pollution, traffic congestion, noise pollution, NGT orders HP authorities to levy Rs. 500 fee from vehicles coming close to Mall road and declare the silence zones and display sign boards at conspicuous places and ensure that no noise is permitted to be generated by any process, including horns.

SHIMLA- Himachal Watcher has been consistently raising the issue of rising vehicular pollution from past four years. Through visuals, HW tried to appeal to the Transport Minister GS Bali, Shimla Traffic Police, and the State Pollution Control Boar, but to no avail. However, finally, the National Green Tribunal has taken notice of this critical environmental issues including vehicular pollution and noise pollution.

Also Read: Why Himachal must act now to cut down diesel emissions

National Green Tribunal (NGT) yesterday directed the state government to consider making one-way traffic on cart road in Shimla. Besides, it also directed to levy Rs. 500 fee from vehicles coming close to Mall road.

“Definite steps of material consequences are required to be taken at the earliest. If not taken now, the day is not far when ambient air quality of Shimla would deteriorate to an undesirable level, causing health hazards and the noise pollution would make it difficult for the residents of Shimla to live a peaceful and enjoyable life; thus, violating the Fundamental Right available to them interms of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the tribunal ruled.”

Save Shimla from Air Pollution, Speak Up!

#SaveShimla from #AirPollution, Speak Up!Old School Politicians running HP Govt. as well as those sitting in the opposition and State Pollution Control Board aren’t alarmed by drastic change in the pattern of weather in Shimla. The minimum temperature is higher this winter, which isn’t good news. We must learn from what happened to Delhi due to excess vehicular pollution. Condition of Shimla is no better. Visibly polluting vehicles, like shown in the posted video, are running regularly on local routes in Shimla despite HW’s regular complaints. Majority of them are HRTC and private local buses, pickups, trucks etc. Surprisingly, dailies and media never take up the issue. Transport Minister G.S. Bali were also approached, but for no use. The number of vehicles is rapidly rising on Shimla city roads, leading to traffic jams and more emissions. However, our state government and Pollution Control Board have no plans to combat the situation. On the top of that, traffic police also remains a mute spectator while many of its cops spend their entire day inhaling lethal PM 2.5. The garbage is being burnt in open as our Municipal Corporation was unable to run the only waste treatment plant in Shimla. Government is doing nothing to create awareness among citizens regarding practices that fuel air pollution.Apparently, everyone is waiting for the day when smog will engulf Shimla and someone will file a PIL, forcing HP High Court or the National Green Tribunal to slam the government for not taking timely action to deal with air pollution.#himachl #visiblypollutingvehicles #shimla #greenshimla #greenhimachal

Posted by Himachal Watcher on Wednesday, 9 December 2015

In 13-page verdict Principal bench of NGT comprising of Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, Judicial member Justice MS Nambiar, expert members DK Agrawal and AR Yusuf said the state government, HP Pollution control board, secretary, Transport Department, all other authorities, Corporations and the Director General of Police should take immediate steps to strictly comply with the directions. The bench observed that authorities had not complied directions given by it in earlier orders.

Do you really care for Shimla? (New Video)

#ZeroToleranceForAirPollution #GreenHimachal #AirPolluion #Shimla Do you really care for Shimla, then save it from vehicular pollution. If not for Shimal, then react for the sake of your family and kids. Your kids inhale poison everyday while going to school. The condition has become to critical to ignore now. Read the reality of air pollution in Shimla: http://himachalwatcher.com/?p=21989To respected Transport Minister of HP, G.S. Bali, we request to, at least, take immedate note of the buses that can be identified from pictures and videos. The bus numbers are clearly visible in visuals. Plying of such buses must be banned or put on stay.

Posted by Himachal Watcher on Friday, 26 June 2015

It is a matter of common knowledge that air and noise pollution, particularly in the city of Shimla, is increasing by the day. Traffic congestion is one of the major contributors to such excessive pollution, the bench observed.

shimla-air-pollution-traffic-police-and-pollution-control-board-sleeping

Visibly Polluting Vehicles running on Shimla city roads

The Tribunal ordered the authorities to also declare the silence zones and display sign boards at conspicuous places and ensure that no noise is permitted to be generated by any process, including horns.

Also Read: HP Pollution Control Board sleeps while blatant HRTC & private bus emissions destroy Shimla City

NGT also asked the state to revise all sealed and restricted roads permits within three months, completely prohibiting and restricting vehicular traffic on such roads. It directed to ensure that no parking to be allowed on sealed of this capital town besides smooth traffic movement on cart road.

Also Read: ‘Unusual rise’ in Shimla’s minimum temp – A big reason to worry

The Bench imposing new conditions on the vehicles permitted on Western Command, Post Office, High Court and other Mall Road nearby road in town have to pay Rs. 500 as Environmental Compensation on the Principle amount charged for permits.

 

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 7 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture world around him in his DSLR lens.

Environment

Dust storms hit air quality of Himachal, no health advisory issued from Govt

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haze in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh along with other North India states like Haryana and Delhi-NCR is affected by the dust storms due to strong-anti cyclonic winds, blowing from Rajasthan.

All major towns remained covered in a blanket of haze for the second day on Friday. The air quality has dropped in the capital Shimla. The amount of suspended particulate matter was reported to above 300 µg/m³ from 80-85 µg/m³ on normal days.

As per the Meteorological Department, the haze is worsened by higher humidity levels.

The tourist activity may also be effected in tourist towns like Shimla during the peak season as flights from airports in Himachal were also grounded for the second day due to the low visibility. The heli-taxi service from Shimla to Chandigarh was also suspended.

The State Pollution Control Board or the State Government has not issued any health advisory to the public so far. Some media reports said the PCB was not even aware of the exact levels of suspended particulate matter during past two days.

The haze could cause several problems from respiratory to allergic reactions including wheezing, cough, chest discomfort and shortness of breath.

For people suffering from asthma, it could prove to be fatal.

The reports suggested that a number of asthma patients visiting the Indira Gandhi Medical Hosptial saw a rise during last two days.

Children and elderly persons, who have smaller lung-reserve, can also face breathing problems. Therefore, remaining indoor to avoid long exposure to haze is advisable for vulnerable individuals.

It is a mixture of dust particles, gases, and other pollutants already floating in the breathable air.

The dust particles become a platform for deadly PM 10 and PM 2.5 particulate matter to cling on.

Previous studies have also confirmed the presence of chemcical pollutants in the haze of the Delhi-NCR.

Moreover, dust is a respiratory irritant even if it is not accompanied by toxic particles.

During such conditions, wearing a simple mask is advisable to minimize the damage.

Other than the health issues, the dust is settling on everything from clothes to edibles.

The Met Department had predicted rain with thunderstorm and gusty winds in all part of Himachal on Saturday and Sunday. The rain could bring relief from both humidity and dust storm.

The situation is alarming in the Delhi-NCR. So far, the dust storms have reportedly killed about 15 people in Uttar Pradesh. It may worsen as the storm is predicted to last for next two days.

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Environment

HP Govt’s failure in implementing FRA Act turning habitants into encroachers

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Kinnaur protest against eviction from forest land

The right to claim titles in “Forest” areas occupied prior to December 13, 2005, is clearly provided in the FRA for the individuals regarded as “encroachers” under the previous legal framework.

Shimla: About 1500 people participated in a rally and public meeting held on June 7, 2018, at Reckong Peo, Kinnaur, to raise their voice against on-going eviction drive that is terming a large number of occupants of forestland as illegal encroachers in complete violation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

The people protested against HP Government’s poor implementation of the FRA, in their district as well as in the entire state.

The rally and public meeting were organized jointly by the Him Lok Jagriti Manch, Zilla Van Adhikar Mancha, a Kinnaur-based platform, Himachal Van Adhikar Manch, Himdhara Collective, and Himalaya Niti Abhiyan.

Activist Manshi Asher with villagers

A memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner with a demand to immediately start processing the claims under FRA from Kinnaur district.

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The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, or Recognition of Forest Rights Act – commonly known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA)- was passed by Parliament in 2006 to address historical injustices and exclusion meted out to a large community of forest dwellers in India. Rights over forestlands were taken away since notification of forests under colonial Indian Forest Act (1927).

While in Himachal, there was a Forest Settlement in the 1970s that settled people’s access to forestlands, for the community, these remained privileges that could be taken away any time, the activists of organizing groups said.

Since then, a process of alienation of forest-dwelling communities has intensified in the name of development, wildlife conservation, forest management, and development, shrinking survival spaces of the forest-dependent people each time, they said.
It is only logical to assume that this piece of legislation is extremely relevant for Himachal Pradesh, where 67 percent of the total land area is under the jurisdiction of the Forest Department, the activists said.

In the initial phase, the State government had implemented the Act only in the Schedule – V (Tribal regions) areas of the State. As a result of this, the process of implementation in the State faced a long delay.

In 2013, after a High Court order and repeated instructions from the Centre, the government decided to implement the Act in non-tribal areas also. Despite the formation of more than 17503 Forest Right Committees (FRCs), which would file the claims, the process is not taking off in most areas.

Local administration and government officials have a partial understanding of the act and several misgivings. As a result of it, the process is just not moving forward.
The activists informed that it is extremely unfortunate that despite the formation of FRCs in 99.82% of revenue villages, only 53 individuals and 7 community titles have been issued under the Act in Himachal in past five years.

At the same time, the rest of the country, around 17.31 lakhs individual titles and 62.92 thousands of community titles have been issued over more than 137.50 lakhs acres of forestland.
Forest Rights act in kinnaur

Further, on April 6, 2015, the Himachal Pradesh High Court ordered the removal of encroachments on “forest land” in the state within six months. It has triggered an eviction drive by the Forest Department.

This includes serving notices for removal of encroachments, disconnecting electricity and water supply provided to all “illegal” structures raised over encroached land and legal action in case of non-compliance.

In upper Shimla, the Forest Department went to the extent of felling apple trees from orchards on “forest land.” In Kinnaur, 98 such notices have been served to so-called “encroachers”.

Fearing further action, the people of Kinnaur, earlier on July 25, 2015, organised a huge rally at District headquarters, Rekong Peo, questioning the manner in which the Forest Department is implementing the orders of the High Court.

The activists emphasized on the importance of understanding the right to claim titles in “Forest” areas occupied prior to December 13, 2005, is clearly provided in the FRA for the individuals regarded as “encroachers” under the previous legal framework.

The provisions of this Act are applicable for Scheduled Tribes and other forest-dwelling communities, which mean almost the entire state. This is a special Act that supersedes all other previous acts related to forests like the Indian Forest Act 1927 or the Forest Conservation Act 1980.

It is a matter of concern that the state government failed to bring the issue of this non-implementation of the FRA Act to the attention of the High Court, the activists said.

As per the Section 5(4) of Chapter III of the FRA,

No member of a forest dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dwellers shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation till the recognition and verification procedure is complete.

According to the 2011 Census, of the total workforce in Himachal, around 62 percents are cultivators and agricultural labourers. This means that a majority of the population dependent completely on farming and forests (livestock rearing) as a livelihood is not a beneficiary in the state budget allocations, the activists said.

Further, the falling number of jobs in the private sector has added to the crises between communities, which could ultimately lead to distress migration, visible in states like Uttarakhand, they said expressing concern.

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Campus Watch

Undertake research on ways to reduce dependence on plastic, say Nauni varsity scientists  

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Nauni Varsity environment day celebration

Solan: The scientists and students of the Environment Science Department at Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni celebrated the World Environment Day with the students of Government Senior Secondary School, Kothi Deora. The students, staff, villagers and Dangri Gram Panchayat representatives took part in the celebrations.

UHF Nauni Events

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. SK Bhardwaj, Head Department of Environment Science said that the theme of this year’s celebrations was ‘Beating Plastic Pollution’.

 The scientists and research scholars Apoorva Sharma, Shivani, Lal Rinzuali and health specialist Dr. Ajay Singh took part in the event and apprised the students about the various kinds of pollution and their impact.

Nauni Varsity Students

Addressing the gathering, Apoorva explained the need to curtail the use of plastic products, as they were one of the main pollutants.

She urged everyone to look for environmentally friendly alternatives and undertake research on the ways to reduce the dependence on plastic. Another speaker, Shivani highlighted the pollution of water sources and the importance of water for humans.

She called for collective efforts to conserve water by building small tanks and by proper disposal of soapless water from kitchens and bathrooms in the soil.

School Principal Dr. Narender Sharma also shared effective techniques of environmental conservation with the students. The eco club of the school also administered the oath for the protection and conservation of the environment.

In addition, the Dangri Panchayat also organized a Workshop on Air Quality and TB at its premises. The university scientists set up Respirable Dust Sampler machine, which will help to ascertain the air quality of the area within the next one month.

The panchayat has already taken steps to fight pollution and has distributed plants like a spider plant, snake plant, aloe vera etc., which were provided to them by the university. 

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