Punish Officials Responsible for Illegal Construction at Mcleodganj – Rakesh Sharma

Dharamshala:  With the Supreme Court having decreed the demolition of an illegally built hotel at the McLeodganj bus stand, ruling BJP has held that it as ‘victory of truth’.

Rakesh Sharma

Rakesh Sharma, media in-charge of BJP said that it was under a Congress government that the hotel and restaurant was illegally built on the land set aside for a bus stand to benefit favoured ones.

It was in 2006 that the illegality of the construction was agitated before the Supreme Court which has finally now been ordered to be demolished within two weeks and land to be used under the rules for construction of parking and a bus stand.

Sharma demanded that action needed to be taken against the construction company and the officials of the concerned departments who had permitted this construction.

Illegally constructed structure at McLeodganj Bus Stand

The five-floor, 40-room hotel, built illegally on forest land meant for a bus stand complex in Mcleodganj, was on Tuesday ordered to be immediately demolished by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice DY Chandrachud.

The case, in fact, goes back two decades when, between 1997 and 2001, the Centre allowed 0.573 hectare of forest land on the Dharamshala road in Mecleodganj to be diverted for construction of a parking lot and a bus stand complex.

Instead, the Himachal Pradesh Bus Stand Management and Development Authority (HPBSM&DA) decided to construct a ground plus four-storey shopping and hotel complex on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis with a private construction company in 2003. The government of the day, in fact, extended a state guarantee for a bank loan of Rs 8 crore for the project to the private developer.

In its order, the Supreme Court has upheld a 2016 National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that had asked for demolition of the illegal structure.

Judges DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra, and Indira Banerjee in their order held that allowing the structure on forest land transferred for construction of a bus stand complex would amount to legalising the illegal construction.

The apex court has directed that the demolition of the structure should commence within two weeks from the date of judgment and should be completed within a month. In the event of default, the Chief Conservator of Forests, along with the district administration, has been asked to demolish the structure and recover the costs as arrears from the concerned authorities.

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.

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