Construction in Shimla: NGT forms panel to study ecology

New Delhi: Voicing concern over rapid construction activity in Shimla and its adverse affect on the ecology, the National Green Tribunal has constituted an expert committee to study forests, sewage system, water supply and carrying capacity strength of the hills.

“The committee shall submit its report giving utmost priority to environment, ecology, forest, sewage system, water supply, collection and disposal of municipal solid waste and carrying capacity strength of the hills,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.

It asked the committee to submit its report within six weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on November 20.

“We may notice that rapid construction activity in Shimla is adversely affecting the environment ecology and all other eco-systems of that area. Shimla generates nearly 60 to 70 metric tons of solid municipal waste every day. It has no plan to deal with the disposal of such waste,” the bench said.

The eight-member expert committee includes a senior officer from National Disaster Management Authority one who is familiar with Himalayan areas and earthquake studies or disasters, senior scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, and ecological expert from GB Pant Institute, Himachal Pradesh.

Among other members in the committee are Chief Town Planner Shimla and or senior Architect (Planner) from Public Works Department, a senior scientist from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and a professor from School of Planning and Architect, New Delhi, senior scientist from the Institute of Himalaya Forest Research Institute.

It said that Additional Chief Secretary (Environment) of Himachal Pradesh shall be the nodal officer and shall ensure the compliance of the tribunal’s order.

“There is increasing air pollution in Shimla, of course it has not reached the standards violating the prescribed parameters. Indiscriminate cutting of forest is another matter of great concern.

“Landslides caused by heavy construction activity is also not unknown in Shimla. All these are clear indications of the nature of coming events,” the bench said.