Your favourite weekend getaways — Lonavla and Khandala — are not recognised as hill stations by the state government.
This failure to classify them as hill stations has led to unrestricted development as the government puts restrictions on construction activities at hill stations to protect their fragile ecology.
Hindustan Times on Monday reported how these destinations were slipping into a state of neglect, forcing the HC to ask the State to consider superseding the local Lonavla Municipal Council (LMC) and creating a new council.
“Officially declaring these towns as hill stations will ensure restrictions on growth,” said Yogesh Godse, chief officer, LMC.
The Lonavla-Khandala Citizens Forum (LKCF) has appointed environment planner, Pallavi Latkar, to conduct a study to define the boundaries of the two towns.
“With this study, we’ll ask the government to declare it a hill station as soon as possible, to ensure we can save these towns,” said Secretary, LKCF, Subodh Tiwari.
“There are a lot of ecologically sensitive areas, especially villages around Lonavla where there has been reckless real estate development by passing it off as Lonavla. There is a need to include these areas and draw new boundaries,” Latkar said.
“Things have been going a little out of control in Lonavla. The area is deteriorating very quickly. Hence, we are contemplating classifying it as an eco-sensitive zone,” said TC Benjamin, Principal Secretary, UD.