Illegal construction in Shimla’s Core area continues in broad daylight despite NGT orders
Shimla: The residents of the Fingask Estate in Shimla City’s core area reported ongoing excavation work for the construction of a new building. The residents fear landslide or felling of tree as the excavation is being carried out at a slope of over 80 Degree.
What is more surprising is the fact that when the residents approached the Shimla Municipal Corporation, they said construction on a 70 Degree angle slope is legally approved.
The residents identified the owner as Mr. Ashok Goyal, who also runs a hotel in Shimla. The residents are surprised at the immunity Mr. Goyal enjoys. The man is flaunting all rules in broad daylight, and the authorities say they have given him a legal approval.
The residents said the man has a history of illegal construction and encroachments in Shimla. The owner also been behind for some days owing to similar reasons.
According to the slope stability norms described in building bylaws since 2000, no constructions are allowed on slopes having angle more than 45° slope. There is restriction on hill cutting more than 3.5 meters of height.
Moreover, according to the recent order passed by the National Green Tribunal, 90% of the core city area has been constructed on slopes above 60°, which is against architectural and geological norms.
Slope in soft rocky areas with over burden soil should be reduced to 35° while retaining 45° for areas with hard sub surface stratum. The concerned department shall ensure that no construction activity takes place where the slope is more than 45/35° in any case, which should be prior to cutting of the hills,
said the NGT orders.
Still the owner managed to get approval for the construction. The residents are alleging a nexus between the owner and the administration.
The owner is speeding the excavation activity on the site after the NGT passed the orders to prohibit any construction activity in the core and green areas of Shimla city.
Some of the residents have even approached the Municipal Corporation of Shimla with their complaint. They met the newly elected Mayor Kusum Sadret and the Commissioner with their complaint.
However, to their surprise, SMC said the owner of the land has a legal approval to undertake this construction work. The residents argue as to how is it possible when the existing rules do not allow construction at slope that is over 45 Degrees.
The Mayor remained busy in party promotion and abandoned the city, they said.
When the residents approached the Junior Engineer incharge of the area, he told them that the map of the building was well approved. The JE told these residents that the slope of the site is 70 Degree, and that it was legally an ok affair.
The residents also complained that the owner is fearlessly using domestic water supply in the construction work.
About five Deodar trees are in danger. One of them has been tied to another tree to prevent it from falling down.
Right beneath this spot, there is a busy passage into the locality that houses several hotels and residential buildings. The excavation has exposed the rocks, which literally hangs.
The excavation work is being carried out without any safety measures to prevent loose rocks and debris from rolling down and pose risk to the lives of people and property.
A couple of trucks without number plates or tempered ones arrive after 10:00 PM, which are loaded with removed debris. According to the effected residents, these trucks dump the waste anywhere on the Sanjauli-Dhalli bypass illegally.
If the allegation to be believed, the owner of the site is openly flaunting almost every criteria laid down for the construction in the core area.
The residents said they would move the High Court if the authorities did not act.