Ban on construction in Shimla's green belts to stay

Shimla, Jan 5 : The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to continue its construction ban in 17 green belts of the town, an official said Sunday.

"The cabinet last evening (Saturday) decided to continue with the ban on construction in the 17 green belts falling within the Shimla Municipal Corporation limits," a government spokesperson told IANS.

He said the cabinet, presided over by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, decided to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of the urban development minister to examine the anomalies in the demarcation of the green pockets.

The principal secretary (revenue) and the urban development secretary will be its members.

"The committee will submit its report in a month," the spokesman added.

Official sources said the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government was keen to lift a 13-year-old construction ban.

The possibility of lifting the ban on construction, after a report is submitted in a month's time, has worried environmentalists. They argue the government should preserve the green belts.

The ban on both commercial and private construction was imposed in 2000 in 17 green belts spread across the town. Since then, some residents have been demanding limited construction or payment of compensation for keeping their plots vacant.

There are nearly 70 residents who are affected by the ban on constructions, said an official.

Planned for a maximum population of 16,000, Shimla now supports 236,000, according to the 2011 census.

--IANS (Posted on 05-01-2014)

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