The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a show-cause notice to the project proponents who have built a seven-storeyed building to set up a petrol station in the Chhota Shimla locality of Shimla town and given them a month to file a response.
Passing an order on a petition filed by Abhishek Katara on July 9, in which the applicant sought to quash the building plan sanctioned by the Shimla Municipal Corporation on August 26, 2020, to Narinder Pal and Kunal Rai Sethia.
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Katara sought to quash all NOCs and approvals for construction of the retail petrol pump at the site.
According to the applicant, the building plans violate an NGT judgment restricting the number of buildings and height on account of environmental considerations, particularly the carrying capacity of the ecosystem, including seismicity.
The building is a seven-storeyed one with five storeys up to the road level and two above.
Wrongly classified as public utility
Sanction was granted for setting up a petrol pump at the proposed site after the removal of trees in a planned manner. The supervisory and implementation committees stipulated in the judgment have granted sanctions even as construction permissible in Shimla is up to four storeys. The petrol pump, in question, has been wrongly classified as public utility, instead of commercial utility.
The NGT, through its order on March 10, 2021, sought a factual and action taken report from a joint committee, comprising the secretary, urban development, principal chief conservator of forests, municipal commissioner and the state pollution control board.
The committee found that against the approval for the construction of level structure height of 16.25m and plinth of 2m, the plinth height at the spot varies from 3.5m to 6m. The retaining wall has been illegally constructed.
According to the proceedings of the joint committee, the Shimla Municipal Corporation has issued a notice dated June 4 to the private respondents to stop construction at the site till final disposal of the matter.
“With regard to violations in the height of the plinth beyond the permissible limit, the accountability of the project proponent and the authorities permitting such violations has to be fixed,” the court said.