Himachal Govt in bind over appealing in Himalayan Ski Village order

Shimla: Having declared intentions to appeal the high court order annulling the show cause notice served for cancelling the multi-million dollar Himalayan Ski Village (HSV) project, the government is in a bind as its legal hawks struggle to find grounds for challenging the order.

Sources privy to the matter disclosed that a high level meeting convened two days ago to discuss the issues to be considered for appeal, ended abruptly for opinion veered around that the order had actually put a judicial stamp on the government stand taken even though the show cause notice served on January 7, 2010 for cancelling the controversial project was struck down on procedural aspects by the court.

Chief secretary Sudripta Roy, when contacted said, “the courts order asking promoters of the Ski Village project to obtain ‘necessary clearances including environmental clearance from all the concerned authorities within a period of six months’ was also the basis for the government show cause notice issued in the first place.”

He said “another meeting has been convened for Monday and legal opinion was being considered for appealing the order over expunging some observations that had been passed against the government.”
Striking down the show cause notice the judge had observed that it was without jurisdiction and authority of law. The action of the state to issue notice is unreasonable.

While permitting the company to proceed with project, the order directed them that necessary clearances including environmental clearances be obtained within 6 months before any construction activity can be allowed.

A director with HSV, Ajay Dabra says, the company is all serious about setting up a world class ski village and plans to apply for the environmental approvals as mandated by the court verdict as soon as possible.

He said “in accordance with the rules, the pollution control board would also be approached to conduct a public hearing about the project.”

Though the judge had struck down a similar public hearing conducted on June 6. 2009 by a government appointed committee to record views of the resident population at the project site because it was not authorized to do so, it has now dawned on the government officials that essence of judicial order was only what the show cause notice was served for that the HSV promoters had not obtained environment clearance – and have left little grounds for the government to appeal against.

To obtain environment clearance, a September 14, 2006 notification mandates that the state pollution control board conduct a public hearing at the proposed project site.

The last time the government appointed committee had held such a hearing, the Manali mob had turned violent in opposition to the HSV project at the site.

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As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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