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Tuesday 13 November 2018
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Crackdown begins at Kasol, illegal hotels, restaurants shut down

Himachal Pradesh High Court has ordered to shut down all 44 illegal establishments in Kasol village operating without necessary approval from the authority.

Following the state High Court order to close down illegal establishment at Kasol village, Kullu administration has snapped the power and water connections and sealed over 40 commercial establishments in Kasol village of Parvati valley in Kullu district.

Panicked Hoteliers are seeking time to get themselves registered and pleading of impacting livelihood of people associated with these tourism activities. The affected hoteliers termed the action a hasty move and before taking any action they should have given chance to redress their grievance. Owner of a private Camp site has pleaded that Kasol is a Village, with gram panchayat as its governing body, and by putting it directly under the Town and Country Planning Department for which the villagers are opposing from past few years, making the registration process difficult for hotel and guest house owners.

Earlier, a High Court bench headed by acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol had directed Kullu DC to take action against all illegal establishment at Kasol village.

The court had ordered the DC to razed down all encroachments and unauthorised structures that have mushroomed in the village and its periperial belt. “No establishments at village Kasol be allowed to operate except in accordance with law. Director General of Police and Zonal Director, Narcotics crime Bureau (NCB) of Chandigarh will also cooperate with the operations” the court ordered.

As per the joint inspection report of a committee constituted by Kullu DC, out of 60 establishments (hotels) in Kasol area, 44 did neither had permissions from the tourism department nor do they had any consent to operate in terms of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution)Act, 1974 and Air(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. Following the joint inspection report, the Court ordered to shut down all 44 establishments and directed Kullu DC to ensure to snap water and electricity supply of these establishments.

The court had also gave the Superintendent of Police, Kullu, the power to depute police force for implementing such directions.

The Court has also directed Director General of Police and Zonal director NCB to file a fresh status report within a period of four weeks, giving details of the steps taken on the court’s orders to deal will illegal drug trade and related activities in the area.

The entire Parvati Valley is notorious for drug peddling and has become the most favoured destination for drug abusers. It’s reported that some hoteliers and restaurants owners were also hand in glove with drug peddlers – making task of police difficult to curb the menace. During raids, it’s learned that drugs were seized in many hotels and restaurants.

Despite regular crack down on the illegal activities and drug paddling in the region, the administration has achieved little and flourishing of drug trade, which involved foreign nationals and locals, are example of it.

NGT constituted Joint Task Force to inspect illegal constructions in Kullu-Manali

The High Court order has come at a time when National Green Tribunal has also set up a joint task force on illegal constructions, to inspect over 1700 hotels, lodges and home stay accommodations in Kullu-Manali.

The NGT formed the committee of senior officers from the state Tourism Department and State Pollution Control Board, scientists from the Shimla Institute of Himalayan Study, the SDM of Kullu and Manali and a representative from the Excise Department.

The Committee is to conduct joint inspection and submit a comprehensive report relating to source of water, management of solid waste, sewage treatment plant, source of power and generation of effluents, and will submit the report to the Himachal Pradesh government along with the recommendations for protection of environment and ensure that the area is not exposed to natural disasters like earthquakes.

Court ordered PCB to inspect Hotels in and around Dharamshala

Acting on the PIL, the state High Court has also expressed concern over the degrading environment in the Dharamsala town and ordered the Regional Officer of the Pollution Control Board (PCB) to inspect hotels and other establishments in Dharamsala, McLeodganj and Naddi, which were being run without obtaining sanction from the authorities concerned.

The court further directed the Regional Officer, PCB, to file his report before the court by December 15.

Illegal forest land encroachment

The state High Court has taken tough stand on illegal construction and encroachments on forest land in the state. The Court has already ordered to pruned apple trees planted on forest land in Shimla, Kullu, Mandi and other district of the state.

No construction in Core Shimla area

Concerned over the haphazard construction in the Shimla city and further degradation of the historic city, the National Green Tribunal has prohibit new construction of any kind, i.e. residential, institutional and in any part of the Core and Green/Forest area of the city.



Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last eight years.