Himachal takes ordinance route to regularise over 30,000 structures

Shimla, May 27 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government on Friday decided to bring an ordinance to regularise over 30,000 unauthorised structures in the state despite a high court rap for favouring violators.

The cabinet, presided over by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, decided to make the necessary amendments in the Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Act of 1977 to give a one-time relief to violators on payment of a prescribed fee, a government spokesperson told IANS.

Constructions on municipal land or by way of encroachment on government land shall not be regularised, an official statement said.

It said the cabinet gave its nod to regularise the unauthorised constructions, both commercial and residential, by owners in areas coming under the town and country planning and local bodies on an ‘as-is-where-is’ basis provided 30 percent open space is still available.

The applicants will have to apply within 45 days from the date of promulgation of the ordinance.

All such unauthorised structures will be subjected to stringent scrutiny of structural audit. Electricity and water supply will be disconnected to unauthorised buildings not qualifying for regularisation.

Unauthorised constructions in green belts after the promulgation of ordinance notification will not be regularised, it said.

Taking note of haphazard development and encroachments in Shimla, where “most buildings are precariously hanging”, the Himachal Pradesh High Court last year said the devastating earthquake in Nepal had failed to shake the state authorities out of their slumber and curb illegal construction that has turned Shimla into a “slum”.

In a 29-page strongly-worded judgment in May 2015, a division bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan pointed out that even though the latest studies indicated that most of Himachal Pradesh fell in seismic zone V and the remaining in zone IV, this fact had failed to move the authorities in Shimla.

“It is high time the building bye-laws are suitably amended by taking into consideration the recent seismic activity in the entire Himalayan region,” it said while asserting that illegal structures won’t be regularised.



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