Kangra Valley faces earthquake threats, Immediate Attention of Himachal Town Planning Deptt. required

PALAMPUR: Despite the fact that this entire Dhauladhar Ranges in Himachal Pradesh falls among the most sensitive earthquake prone areas of the country, haphazard and unplanned buildings and residential construction is going on unchecked. In past five years the Kangra district, particularly Palampur and Dharmshala towns have turned into a huge concrete jungle.

unplanned and hapzard construction of houses and other building at Palampur

After 2001 earthquake in Gujrat the government of Himachal Pradesh had taken serious measures to regulate the construction activities in this region and also brought all important towns of Kangra district within the purview of Town and Country Planning Act. But it is most surprising that hundreds of buildings including residential houses and multi storied complexes in the district have come up without the prior approval of town and country planning authorities.

There are several hotels in the region which have been constructed in gross violation of rules laid down by the town and country planning department. In many cases even the site plans were not approved by the town and country planning authorities but buildings have come up. No body knew in the government who had accorded sanction for the construction of these buildings. Even the defaulters had managed electricity and drinking water supply connections.

It seems that there is none to check such illegal construction which is extending and open invitation for a major disaster like Gujarat. Not only private parties but the semi government and government agencies have also not followed the norms laid down for the construction by Town and Country Planning Department. Number of buildings constructed by Municipal Councils and Public Works Department and other government agencies have openly flouted the norms laid down by the Town and Country Planning Department. It is most surprising that till date town and country planning have failed to initiate any action against defaulters. Even in one of the cases the town and country planning have also not followed the directions issued by the Himachal Pradesh High Court and allowed the construction to go a head.

The entire Dhauladhar ranges in Himachal Pradesh falls in Zone five, the experts of Seismology Department of Roorkee University have recommended earthquake proof constructions for this region. But it is a sad state of affairs that neither Town and Country Planning Authorities nor state government has followed these recommendations and measures suggested by these experts have been kept aside. Most of the building maps approved by the Town and Country Planning Department particularly for Palampur and Dharmsala towns lack such norms and huge concrete jungles have come up here, which can result in big tragedy at any moment.

A senior journalist from Palampur.

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7 Comments

  1. says: Kultar Guleria

    I would like to draw the attention of the concerned authorities at DHARAMSHALA and all the places around it.

    There are lots and lots of residential buildings and housing colonies are coming up, but I have not seen any means of disposing off the trash which will be generated everydayfrom all thes e places, which is resulting in to littering all around and finally getting in to all our small culverts, nalas, Kuls and Khads.

    Is there any way to get rid of this trash being littred all around ???

    1. says: prashant

      things would have been better if the contractors who are just concerned about filling there pockets are allowed to construct only if they pass a written / verbal interview regarding technicalities of EQ sensitive construction……One should not be surprised if almost all would fail the test even regarding the basics of the concept………

  2. says: raj varma

    i think the way HP is developing it is very essential to have close look in terms of infrastructural development and in that it is very important to see where exeactly the construction is going on , is it done with due permission,who is involved in construction process and what type of area is selected for the construction. specially in village area most of the fertile land is converting into concreate jungle and that too without any technical, social norms been taken care of.

  3. says: Rajneesh

    Hi,
    i am rajneesh from kangra distt. I wanaa draw attention of himachal govt. towards the worst condition of buildings and infrastructures in himachal. Most of the buildings in my state are constructed without any compilation with the requirements for contruction in such a risky area. i was shocked to learn few days ago that a govt building in dharamshala was constructed without the confirmation of design from matereological department, it feels shit. this building was being constructed for winter session of legislative assembly and was situated on fault line. the scientist have predicted that there may be an possible earthquake of magnitude 6.2 to 7.9 on rictor. but most of structures in our state are not able to withstand. I request the govt and the people please follow the guidelines of matereological deptt and be secure.
    I pray for the better future of Dev Bhumi Himachal and it’s peole. Please BE ALERT BE SAFE.
    Thanks

  4. says: Puran Bhardwaj

    We can say that just stop the construction or building houses. Because poor wants to built and rich have built already and planning for more.
    A new plan and way of building houses has to introduced. Which includes traditional way of building houses with lots of wood, stone and mud. No concreate. As Asia have noticed in North West Kashmir and Pakistan that most of the houses, which killed people were cement concrete houses with very little rusted saria or metal in the middle. That iren bar can hold this concrete for more then 50 years anyway. So Old is gold and little is beautiful.
    If our ancesters built mud and wood house with little Grass or hey or straw roof on top. There must be a reason. We live in the rising Himalayas and we have to live the way our for fathers lived from 1000…of years.
    We should not copy the way west is living or moving. Those wool, hats, kot or patoo’s have not be forgoten or replaced with machine made imported t-shirts or jeens.
    Therefor the house which were built in different part of the world would not be helpfull in the Himalayas. We have to have structure like cutkuni wood achetecture like the Godess temple in Sarahan. This is the structure especially made to survive in earthqake zone.
    What Govt. need to do to have campign full on. Create a documantry about old style of living and New modren style. And show it on all the channel in the same time on same day. So every body watches it. The differance in surviving the earthquke. Japan is best in dealing on those kind of events as they have put special measures in place and every child of the country is educated for it.
    Rich and respected people has to change their way. thats when public will follow.
    Its like a Minister is telling people to use local buses and transport for eco-grren reasons and himself running in smart cars with many other cars around him.
    He needs to get down to these buses his self, if he wants public to do the same. Because public likes to do what rich and respected do. Thats what is happening and they want big cement building as well. Now if we tell them no you can’t do that, that is not simply possible.
    May i wish a safe and better future to Himachal and its traditions..
    -Puran

  5. These haphazard construction is going on since long time and being a civil Engineer, I noticed very closely that how these structures are getting approved. One under qualified man can draw and even design the structures in towns of States like HP. There is nothing called TCP in the hill state of HP. Plans will be approved by the authoroties without any technical know how of Civil Engineering or architecture. Authoroties will check only the location of Septic tank and nothing else.

    Some concrete steps need to be taken to modify/diversify the system.

    Hope it will be done shortly and the plans and designs of buildings will be accepted only after being designed through some competent and well qualified persons to avoid the structural disasters.

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