Old photo. Used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Former Deputy Mayor accuses Shimla dist admn of Violating High Court order for Summer Festival venue, seeks court’s intervention

Shimla, June 1

Former Deputy Mayor Tekinder Singh Panwar sought intervention of Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court Justice M S Ramachandra Rao to replace the venue of International Shimla Summer Festival from the Ridge Ground alleging that it is non -compliance of a HC order which protected this portion of heritage town as protected area.

In a letter addressed to the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, Panwar, a prominent urban specialist, has levied serious allegations against the Shimla district administration for their alleged gross negligence and non-compliance with a High Court order.

Panwar, a well-respected figure in Shimla’s governance, has raised alarm over the ongoing Summer Festival taking place in Shimla from June 1 to 5, 2023. He asserts that the festival is being held in direct violation of a High Court order, which strictly prohibits any gatherings on the portion of the Ridge Shimla situated above a century-old water reservoir.

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The former deputy mayor emphasizes the heritage value of the Ridge and its surrounding areas, which were developed by the British and possess unique aesthetics and land use regulations. The water reservoir beneath the Ridge, constructed without reinforcements, is of particular concern due to its vulnerability. Panwar personally participated in cleaning operations within the tank and highlights its sensitive nature, further emphasizing that no activities contrary to the established guidelines, including holding meetings, are permitted in the heritage zone.

Panwar refers to a September 12, 2008, High Court order that explicitly forbids any gatherings on the Ridge above the water reservoir. However, he alleges that the festival organizers have erected a stage and seating arrangements directly over the water tank, disregarding the court’s directives. Furthermore, he reveals that the Shimla Municipal Corporation had previously invested a significant amount of funds, nearly Rs 2 crore, to repair leakage in the water tank, underscoring the importance of protecting this crucial infrastructure.

With deep concern for the preservation of Shimla’s heritage and the potential risks posed by the current festival site, Panwar implores the Honorable Chief Justice to take immediate action. He requests the court’s intervention to ensure the Summer Festival venue is relocated promptly and to prevent any future gatherings at the sensitive water tank site. Panwar highlights the disastrous consequences that could arise if the area’s vulnerability is ignored.

The allegations made by Panwar, a highly respected authority on urban development, have generated widespread attention and cast a shadow over the Shimla district administration’s adherence to court orders and preservation efforts. As the community eagerly awaits the response of the Honorable Chief Justice and the subsequent actions taken, the protection of Shimla’s heritage and the upholding of the rule of law hang in the balance.


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