Shimla:The Himachal Pradesh High Court has restrained Jagson Ropeways Company from carrying out any further construction activity of the ropeway tower, taking a serious view of environmental violations in the project.
The court also observed in its interim order Thursday that government officials seemed to be benefitting the company in the aerial ropeway project linking the Ridge with the historical Hunuman Temple in Jakhu hills here.
While restraining the company from carrying out any further construction activities of the tower, a special ‘green bench’ comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Rajiv Sharma said: ‘The construction (of the tower) beyond 39.90 metres will be sealed till decision on it was taken. The company will not carry out any further construction beyond the originally approved plan.’
Acting on a public interest litigation highlighting the alleged violation of the sanctioned plans and construction norms in the green zone, the bench said: ‘Officials of the state government seem to be more interested in protecting the interests of Jagson Ropeways rather than the environment of the area.
‘If this court does not intervene, they permit this tower of Babel to increase in height day by day.’
The court directed the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation Shimla to file a reply explaining his stand on the issue before July 23.
According to the company’s initial construction plan, the height of the tower would be 39.90 metres. But during the construction, it has raised the height of the tower to 43.92 metres. It further proposes to increase the height up to 46.90 metres.
The project has been mired in controversy a number of times over environment laws violations.
The government, acting on the directions of the district courts, had directed the company in 2008 to stop the construction till preventive measures are taken to protect the trees and the houses that fall in the vicinity of the construction site.
The company was directed to remove the heavy earth-moving machines from the site as these are triggering landslides.
The state government had approved the ropeway project despite the fact that the area falls in the no-construction green zone.