HP may ban haphazard construction on banks of River
Shimla, July 19
In the wake of devastating floods and the loss of life and property along major rivers in Himachal Pradesh, the state government is contemplating a ban on haphazard construction along river banks. The government, caught off guard by the recent catastrophe, is now taking steps to address the issue and prevent future disasters.
Also recently, in the aftermath of the tragic events, Chief Minister Sukhivinder Singh Sukhu expressed his concern regarding a public dispute that unfolded between two key members of his cabinet, Public Works Department Minister Vikramaditya Singh and Minister of Industry Harashvardhan Chauhan. This dispute has raised eyebrows among political observers, leading to speculation that the Chief Minister may have called for a meeting to address the issue. The uncertainty surrounding this matter has the potential to be blown out of proportion, as any discord among the council of ministers could tarnish the government’s image, according to sources.
Furthermore, the meeting was convened to address the pressing problem of floods and the consequent damage caused to infrastructure, amounting to a staggering sum of Rs 2000 Crore. The gathering brought together officials from the Town and Country Planning (TCP) department to find effective solutions to combat the rising water levels wreaking havoc in the region. The severity of the situation necessitated immediate action and collaboration between relevant stakeholders.
During the meeting, the participants discussed the need to regulate or even completely ban construction along river banks to avert such calamities in the future. The Beas, Yamuna, and Satluj river catchment areas are particularly vulnerable to changes in water flow, with rivers like the Swana having their course shifted several kilometers over time.
The government is reportedly taking the issue seriously and considering imposing a ban on construction within a considerable distance on either side of the river bed. Unscientific and haphazard construction along the river banks has already claimed numerous lives and caused extensive property damage during recent unprecedented rains. The authorities now acknowledge the need to enforce stricter construction norms and guidelines to prevent future losses.
Several towns located along major rivers, including Rampur, Neogli, Sunni, Bilaspur, Manali, Mandi, Kullu, and Bhuntar, may fall under the proposed restrictions. The government may also explore new planning areas in the future to ensure safer development practices. The details of the decisions taken during the TCP meeting have not been officially released yet.
The meeting aimed to bring clarity to the differing viewpoints among the council of ministers regarding the causes of such devastating occurrences. Chief Minister Sukhu, who personally visited the affected areas for three days, is expected to provide valuable insights into the issue. The state government spokesperson confirmed the TCP meeting but did not provide specific information about the decisions made.
The government’s proactive measures to address the issue of haphazard construction along river banks demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding lives and properties from the destructive forces of nature. By imposing restrictions and implementing scientifically sound planning practices, the government aims to prevent future loss and devastation caused by river flooding.
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