DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the disaster management secretary in the state “to reappraise development and construction plans in Nainital and its outlying areas, and take appropriate measures in case any construction is in violation of the law”.
The division bench of Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Lokpal Singh while disposing of a public interest litigation to check illegal construction, said in the order dated August 27 that the commissioner of the Kumaon division and district magistrate, Nainital, and the secretary, lake development authority, will “take all possible measures to see that no construction activity takes place inside the shoreline of Sukhatal (a catchment area of Naini lake) and take all remedial measures for removing the unauthorised construction”.
The PIL was filed by activist Ajay Singh Rawat to declare Nainital an ‘Eco-Sensitive Zone’.
The court commenting on the main prayer of the petitioner, stated, “We are of the view that the first prayer of the petitioner needs to be considered by the Union ministry of environment and forests which shall consider whether on the basis of the report of their own ‘Expert Committee’ of March 2003 which is annexed as Annexure No. 7 to the writ petition, the entire Nainital region needs to be declared as Eco-Sensitive Zone.”
Taking note of the chronic traffic congestion every tourist season, the court said the authorities to take stock of the situation in advance and start planning from February.
The bench also added that the administration should prepare a traffic plan in Nainital, which shouldn’t inconvenience tourists and residents.