3-storeyed illegal building comes up in McLeodganj under MC’s nose
The Dharamshala municipal corporation (MC) has issued a notice to Yashi Dolma, a woman of Tibetan origin, for illegally building a three-storeyed building adjoining Hotel Norbu House, 250 metres from the abode of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The MC notice was issued last week on the complaint of a local resident, Ashok Rai, on whose plot (about 780 yards) the illegal construction was made during the lockdown. “There was no construction on the site till the middle of April,” Rai said, demanding action against the owners of Hotel Norbu House who raised the building “by taking advantage of the Covid-19 lockdown”.
Not only has the structure come up without the approval of the civic body and town planning department but it has also been built on encroached land and three trees have been damaged at the site. One tree has been taken inside the construction site.
Meanwhile, Ghazala Abdullah, a green activist who took the matter of illegal felling to the high court, alleged that the same people had carried out digging for the construction of a water tank endangering four Deodar trees.
MC commissioner Pradeep Thakur said, “A case has been registered against owner Yashi Dolma under Section 253 of the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, and a notice has been issued to her.” The section provides for demolition of illegally raised structure if violations are confirmed.
Yashi Dolma and her husband, Indian citizens of Tibetan origin, run hospitality business in Mcleodganj and own several properties.
When contacted, Wangdu admitted that the construction they raised was illegal. He, however, maintained that the construction was an old one and they had submitted a regularisation plan to the authorities.He alleged that person who submitted complaint with the MC wanted to grab his land.
Wangdu also denied commissioning the digging.
Dharamshala mayor Devinder Singh Jaggi said that the civic body will take strict action not only against the owner but also against officials who failed to keep a track of such activities. “Responsibilities will be fixed and action will be taken as per law,” said Jaggi.
OFFENDER LEFT OFF THE HOOK EARLIER
MC sources said that this was not the first time that Dolma was involved in illegal construction. Two years ago, the water and power supplies to Hotel Norbu House was cut after she built a six-storeyed building despite having permission for only two storeys. The case is still pending in the court.
In recent years, illegal structures have come up in McLeodganj. After High Court took cognizance of the matter notices power and water supply to about 180 hotels and guest houses for violation of building and environmental norms. The court also appointed a local commissioner and had “warned” to stop the salaries of erring officials after the commissioner had reported rampant violation in McLeodganj area.
Later, court provided some relaxations by restoring the water and power supply on the condition that the illegal portions shall be demolished or fine be imposed as per the law. The owners had also submitted affidavit in the court in this regard. The matter is still pending.
The town and country planning department allows only two-storeyed buildings in the hill town as it is in the seismic sensitive zone.
Also, in July 2019, the National Green Tribunal had banned any kind of commercial construction in McLeoganj area.