NGT will decide on curbing construction in these areas after report submission

Shimla, September 28: The state government on Friday set the ball rolling for setting up of the 10-member expert committee to undertake the carrying capacity assessment of ecological sensitive and geologically fragile areas in Manali and McLeodganj within within three months.

The state government wrote to experts from various agencies so that the expert committee can be constituted by October 15 as per the directives of the National Green Tribunal issued last week. Additional Chief Secretary, Town and Country Planning (TCP) Prabodh Saxena chaired a meeting of the officials of TCP and State Pollution Control Board here.

It is based on the report of the expert committee that the NGT will take a call on banning or restricting construction activity in McLeodganj and Manali. The NGT has asked the committee to suggest the nature of restrictions that are to be laid down, keeping in view the seismicity and geo-physical setting of the area.
Sources said that Member Secretary, State Pollution Control Board, had written letters to various organisation to nominate their members to be part of the expert committee. It is expected that the committee will be in place by October so that it can complete its work within three months. The next hearing of the case before the NGT is expected to be in latter half of January.

The NGT in its order on September 19 had directed the assessment of the carrying capacity of the towns of Manali and McLeodganj be done in terms of tourist inflows, vehicular traffic and parking space, road infrastructure, general scarcity of under-ground water, availability of drinking water, air quality, bio-diversity of the area, earthquakes, disasters, structures stability, seismicity, land bearing capacity of soil, underlying rock, proneness of landslide, structural flaws in existing structures and transport and mobility.