New Delhi: The Himachal Pradesh government Draft Development Plan, 2041, has been restrained by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The plan, which allows construction in the hilly state, was challenged in the tribunal stating that it was against the sustainable development principle and destructive to the environment and public safety, IANS reported.
"We find the observations and proposals in the plan of the state of HP to be patently illegal in view of submissions noted above," NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
The NGT ruled that if the states go forward with the plan, not only it will be violating the rule of law, but also affecting the environment and, ultimately, public safety.
"It is not expected from a lawful government that has to work as per law and the Constitution and not at its fancies as appears to be the case," the NGT order stated.
The tribunal chided the Chief Secretary of the state, saying, "Chief Secretary should be personally held liable for prosecution for such patent illegal acts of the State authorities."
The petitioner Yogendra Mohan Sengupta, a Shimla-based
environmentalist relied upon the Expert Committee reports based on NGT's 2017 order, which had prescribed regulatory measures for constructions in the core green areas. The plea contended that the plan was illegal and ill-conceived, violating the Tribunal under Section 15 of the NGT. Violating NGT's directions is a punishable criminal offence under Section 26 of the NGT Act, and heads of concerned departments are liable for prosecution under Section 28 of the said Act, the plea said.
NGT issued show-cause notices to the respondents and directed the state to submit their responses in a month. It also said that the applicant might serve a set of papers on the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit of service within one week, stating meanwhile it restrains the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Department from taking any further steps in pursuance of the Draft Development Plan, 2041.
Further hearing on the matter was posted to July 22.