Jakhu ropeway project hits roadblock in Himachal Pradesh

October 1st, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Oct 1 (IANS) The aerial ropeway project linking the Ridge with the historical Hunuman Temple in Jakhu hills in Himachal Pradesh’s state capital has hit a roadblock over violation of environment laws.The state government has directed the construction company, Jagson International Ltd to stop the construction of the ropeway till preventive measures are taken to protect the trees and the houses that fall in the vicinity of the construction site.

“We have directed company officials to stop the construction work immediately and take remedial measures to check threats to ecology and houses,” Forest Minister J.P. Nadda told IANS Wednesday.

“A three-member committee has been set up to study the extent of damage caused by Jagson International Ltd and to oversee whether it (the company) complies with environment laws in future,” he added.

The district court last week expressed concern over damage to trees and threat to human life.

It has also directed the company to stop all excavation, digging and construction activities till steps are taken to check further damage.

“The company has been told to build retaining walls along the landslide-prone areas and embankments along the trees so that excavation work might not pose any threat to nearby areas,” Nagin Nanda, director for environment, said.

Nanda is a member of the three-man committee that is reviewing the violations at the site.

“The company has dumped debris haphazardly near the construction site, thus blocking the flow of a water channel. Now we have directed the company to dump the debris at the designated sites only,” Nanda said.

The company has also been directed to remove the heavy earth-moving machines from the site as these are triggering landslides.

“We will not allow the company to start the ropeway project until it prepares a plan to protect the environment and houses,” Nadda added.

Surprisingly, the state government had approved the ropeway project despite the fact that the area falls in the no-construction green zone.

However, Nadda clarified that the state forest department had granted permission to the company to axe 31 trees after getting the green signal from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

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