People of the district are highly upset and aggrieved over the repeated reports of heavy damages to the property due to heavy rain and landslides in various parts of the state during the current monsoon season.
Luckily, no such major incident has taken place in the district so far. However, the way huge buildings are coming up in different parts of the district in a haphazard manner, including Hamirpur town, has made people apprehensive as this trend has a severe impact on ecology.
In Hamirpur town, more than 50 high-rise buildings have come up against the government norms. How the owners got the permission to raise five to seven-storey buildings is the cause of concern for all.
According to the rules, buildings only with three floors and one basement are allowed in the district. Most of such buildings are on the Shimla pattern and raised one above the another.
Environmentalists of the state are upset with the rising trend of such buildings and say that if any major earthquake comes, Hamirpur would suffer a huge loss as the district falls in seismic zone-5 along with Kangra district and has seen a mass devastation in 1905 when Hamirpur was a part of erstwhile Punjab.
Ram Singh of Anu area of the town is pained with the growing trend of constructing five to six-storey buildings. He said the local civic body seemed to have turned a blind eye towards the rising trend.
He said in Anu area, at least 10 such buildings had been constructed against the rules and regulations.
Similarly, Ashok Kumar of Bhoranj said in rural areas too, high-rise buildings were on the rise and causing problems to their neighbours.
He demanded strong action against the violators and against those too who were behind them.
Located in Shivalik region, Hamirpur is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Earthquakes, landslides, cloudbursts, flashfloods, forest fires and avalanches have caused tremendous loss to the state.
Besides loss of lives, these disasters have led to considerable loss to the state exchequer.
Apart from hazard-prone geographical conditions, Hamirpur is also vulnerable to unplanned developments, rapid urbanisation and growth in population and temporary settlements in urban areas.
As per the Vulnerability Atlas of India, in Himachal 70% houses are made of mud, un-burnt brick and stone wall and as Hamirpur is part of Himachal Pradesh, the condition is not different in this district.
However, the situation has changed a lot after Hamirpur became a district and now the number of houses made of concrete has outnumbered kutcha houses. Even in villages, kutcha or mud houses are not seen too much as their place has been taken over by concrete houses.
The plan prepared by the town and country planning department for the town after Hamirpur became a district for making it a model town is now gathering dust.
Rattan Lal Verma, a leading environmentalist of the state, says the way the high-rise buildings are being allowed to construct, the day is not far-off when the district would suffer a huge loss.
Verma added that taking cue from the Uttarakhand tragedy; the state government should become tough and formulate a policy that was suited for the state.
He demanded demolishing of all such buildings that were constructed in violation of the government orders.
Executive officer of the Hamirpur civic body Raj Krishna Sharma said after getting reports from the construction wing of the body, it had issued notices to many persons and their replies were still awaited.
He added that the civic body would not allow anyone to divert the site plans and construct the buildings at their whims and fancies.