Himachal Pradesh enforces hill-cutting ban

01 Sep 2023

The Himachal Pradesh government has imposed a two-week ban on hill cutting for private development and construction activities, with an exception for rebuilding disaster-affected buildings and roads until September 16. Additionally, fresh permissions for the planning and construction of commercial or tourism units in certain districts, including Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Kangra, Solan, and Chamba, have also been temporarily halted for two weeks.

The decision comes in the wake of severe environmental disruptions, such as landslides, subsidence, river-bank failures, and erosion, during the ongoing monsoon season. These disruptions have resulted in tragic loss of lives and property. The government aims to prioritise human safety, protect infrastructure, and preserve the fragile ecological balance in the hilly state.

The ban is effective immediately, and violations will be subject to legal action. So far, the state has witnessed 257 casualties due to rain-related incidents since the onset of the monsoon on June 24, with estimated losses reaching Rs 86.63 billion, according to the state emergency operation centre. However, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has stated that the losses may be as high as Rs 120 billion, as estimates continue to be assessed.

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