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Illegal constructions in McLeod Ganj go unchecked

View of McLeod Ganj

View of McLeod Ganj Photographer unknown

By Lalit Mohan

DHARAMSHALA, India, 22 December 2015

Illegal constructions were continuing in the McLeod Ganj area despite notices by the local municipal council and the Town and Country Planning Department.

Two such constructions involving more than four-storey buildings were coming up right in the heart of McLeod Ganj on the Dalai Lama Temple road. The buildings are being raised by bringing down a huge hillock. Due to huge excavation in the area the road above the constructions in McLeod Ganj is now landslide prone. The muck generated from the constructions has allegedly damaged the hillsides.

Interestingly, as per the Town and Country Planning rules, just two-storey buildings were allowed in McLeodganj. The rule has been in place as McLeod Ganj falls in Zone 5 in terms of receiving earthquakes, and a fault line passes through the area.

In view of the rule the municipal council and Town and Country Planning authorities have issued notices to the owners of the building. However, despite the notices the construction was still continuing. The sources here said that the buildings are owned by influential people of Dharamshala, including one senior politician connected with the local municipal council.

The local municipal officials refused to comment over the matter on the plea that Dharamshala has now been converted into Municipal Corporation and checking illegal constructions would now be onus of corporation. Municipal Corporation Commissioner Rakesh Sharma had joined just a few days ago and was just setting up his office.

Sources here said there was an increase in construction of illegal buildings in Dharamshala and its surrounding areas for the last one year. The people resorted to illegal constructions as the government was contemplating a policy to regularize illegal constructions. The sources said that people were of the view that in case they bring up illegal constructions they would get regularized under the government policy.

The retention policy under which the illegal building were to be regularized was to come up before the Cabinet in the winter session of the Himachal Assembly. However, the policy was stalled due to opposition by some ministers who alleged that retention policy would set a wrong precedent.

They were of the view that the retention policy would award those who had violated the law by raising multi-storey buildings and would seem as a punishment for those who have abided by the laws.

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