Affected residents of Shimla by NGT order still out of SDP : Mins

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Shimla, Feb 9

Around 9200 residents living in Shimla merged area and others places in Shimla MC yet to be regulated would not be covered by the new draft of Shimla Development plan unveiled here on tuesday, stated the concerned minister.

Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said that around 9200 house and plot owners who have submitted their maps under a one time retention policy brought by Virbhadra Singh Government in 2016-17 could not be covered in the new SDP.

He said that all the constructions being done in the Shimla MC and pending for the approval with MC and TCP to be regulated by the Jai Ram Government. He assured that similar move to regularise the old constructions are under process likely to be announced soon.

Minister annouced that NGT passed an order in Nov 2017 which restricted the construction in the core area, residential green area . He said these categories of area were identified and included in the interim development plan in 2002.

” Following NGT orders to restrict construction in many places in the town and number of haphazard constructions are going for a long time ” he said. Minister said that Shimla Interim Development plan came in existence in year 1979 could not gain finality in last 40 yrs.

“Without having any definite Development Plan it could not be ascertained that which zone should be distinguished to what activity.” Minister said.

The Britishers while taking over the town as summer capital also constructed Shimla on a special line of development.

It became state capital of Himachal after independence and with increasing income of people and local economy many decided to reside here after building their homes, he said

National Green tribunal came into existence under aegis of NGT Act 2010 and it passed number of orders to restrict construction activities moreover town and its residents affected by its order passed in Nov 2017 about Shimla Plan area. An Order was also passed by the High court to affect the construction activities in Shimla planning area.

Minister added that an appeal or SLP filed by state government is also pending before the Superme Court against the 2017 NGT order to declare it null and void.

He said that since four years the State Government keep in engaged in various delibrations to bring the new development plan for Shimla

He disclosed that Urban Development and Town and Country Department planning is also proposing similar development plans for other areas of the state to encourage regulated and planned construction and such development plan drafts are likely to be designed and released subsequently with completion of this process in future.

By bringing Development Plan this government is trying to extend its benefit to new areas being merged in Shimla and other parts of the state by making them benifciary and stakeholders after widespread consultations with them.

Replying to query regarding the legal status of SDP unveiled on Tuesday in view of pending litigation in the court, Minister said that State could come out with the development plan and NGT does not govern the planning areas being the quasi judicial body but it could passed order according to its constitutional mandate.

Would the government would be able to complete the process of notifying the draft development plan of Shimla, in wake of upcoming Shimla MC election and Assembly elections this year Minister evaded the query stating that government has shown guts to come up with the development plan which no government in past 40 yrs state could finalize including four BJP governments also had ruled the state. Jai Ram Government became the first government which has scripted history to draft the SDP.

When questioned that the process would be effected by the notification of Shimla MC poll soon Minister said that State cabinet is committed to complete the tedious process after inviting a month of public objections/suggestions w.e.f tuesday onwards. He also urged the people of the town to come up with their suggestions and objections to join the process.

Bhardwaj said that people are free to give their suggestions and they could demand the more floors being proposed in the draft. The department and government would consider the suggestions after reviewing them.

The construction being regulated to one, two, three and four floors keeping with presence of plot in the green, heritage and core planning area and varying size of plots however construction bylaws in the outside three aforsaid areas would kept more open, he added.

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