Expressing concern over rapid construction activity in Shimla and its adverse affect on the ecology, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted an expert committee to study forests, sewage system, water supply and carrying capacity strength of the hills.
NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar who is heading the NGT bench said, “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.”
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 include Chief Town Planner Shimla 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 Himalayan Forest Research Institute.
While, the committee has been asked to submit its report within six weeks, the matter will come up for the hearing on November 20. The NGT bench said, “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.”
“Air pollution is increasing in Shimla, of course, it has not reached the standards violating the prescribed parameters. Indiscriminate cutting of forest is another matter of great concern. While, the landslides is another reason,” the bench added.
According to the bench, the Additional Chief Secretary (Environment) of Himachal Pradesh shall be the nodal officer and shall ensure the compliance of the tribunal’s order.