Shimla, Sep 19
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has refused to entertain an application for permission to construct lift, ramp ( for physically challenged persons) in Ellerslie Main building , visitors’ waiting hall for Chief Minister office, extension of car parking at Armsdale building and multi-storey parking and office accommodation, in the Secretariat complex Shimla
The NGT rejected the plea of Jai Ram Government to develop the above projects justified necessary in public interest.
The NGT order of Sep 13 (Copy of which is with us) was delivered by the Principal Bench of the NGT, under Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Judicial member Brijesh Sethi and Environment member Nagin Nanda, rejected the petitioners’ submission that the supervisory committee formed to evaluate constructions of exceptional nature, had given the go-ahead for the proposal.
We have heard learned counsel for the applicant on the issue of maintainability of such applications before this Tribunal in a decided matter, involving modification of order which has involved finality.
The order passed by the NGT said that even in these areas, construction would not be permitted beyond two storeys plus attic floor.
” The order further said that however…. if any construction, particularly public utilities (the buildings like hospitals, schools and offices of essential services but would definitely not include commercial, private builders and any such allied buildings) are proposed to be constructed beyond two storeys plus attic floor then the plans for approval or obtaining NOC should be submitted to the concerned authorities having jurisdiction over the area in question.
” The Supervisory Committee constituted in terms of the order is for purposes mentioned in the order. There is no scope of making recommendation by the said Committee for review of the order in any manner. ” the order said.
“The project was not permissible according to the directions of the NGT dated November 16, 2017.” said the Order.
Referring to alteration of British era Ellerslie (1902) NGT said that wherever the old residential structures exist in the Core area or the Green or Forest area which are found to be unfit for human habitation and are in a seriously dilapidated condition, the Implementation Committee constituted under this judgement may permit construction or reconstruction of the building but strictly within the legally permissible structural limits of the old building and for the same or permissible legal use.
The green tribunal disposing off two applications about the above project said that it prohibit new construction of any kind, that is residential, institutional and commercial to be permitted henceforth in any part of the Core and Green or Forest area as defined under the various Notifications issued under the Interim Development Plan as well, by the State Government.
However this order of the NGT also said the construction of public utilities like hospitals, schools and offices of essential services could be allowed provided it enforce precautionary principle and to protect ecology, new constructions were required to be restricted, consistent with the eco sensitiveness of the area, in the core or green or forest area and even constructions for public utilities.
The NGT, on November 16, 2017, had prohibited new constructions of any kind residential, institutional and commercial in any part of the core, green and forest areas defined under the various notifications issued under the Interim Development Plan, Shimla, as well as by the Himachal Pradesh government.
In light of its Nov 16 order NGT maintained that since ” applications seeking further orders in conflict with such decision is not maintainable. It is for the statutory authorities to act further in accordance with the said decision.
The Green tribunal also had justified the order to impose restriction on constructions under the environment protections law and its mandate with various articles of the constitution.
It is worth to mention on similar ground National Green Tribunal (NGT) had also refused to entertain an application of Modi Govt seeking permission to construct multi-level parking as well as commercial structures in the railway warehouse below Winter Field, Shimla under Rail Land Development Authority to develop a project was necessary to control traffic congestion stating that it could not allow the project since that was partly conceived in commercial purpose apart from public utilities.