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.
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.