High court issues notice to Centre, HP Govt. & NHAI

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The Himachal Pradesh high court has issued notices to the Centre, state government and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in a matter seeking directions to the authorities concerned to take necessary measures as suggested by various experts for the prevention of landslides along national highways in the state. The court posted the matter after four weeks and directed the respondents to file reply till next date.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed these orders on a petition filed by Namita Maniktala, which was taken up by the court as a public interest litigation (PIL). The petitioner alleged that many areas of Himachal have fragile geologies and are prone to landslides. And almost every year, the state witnesses massive landslides, which causes loss of lives and property, the petitioner added.
She said it is duty of the state to take all precautionary measures, which can prevent landslides and stop any further loss to life and property of citizens.

She claimed that the experts had recommended some remedial measures to prevent landslides in various reports — ‘Landslide hazard Risk Management Report, 2015’, a report of study conducted by Professor (environmental sciences) Dr A K Mahajan, report of Geological Survey of India with respect to the road cave-in at Kali Dhank area in Paonta Sahib-Shillai road and report of Abhay Shukla Commit

tee constituted by this high court to study the impact of establishment of hydroelectric projects of mountain ecosystems.
But the state and NHAI authorities have not taken into account these expert suggestions, while undertaking massive developmental projects in Himachal Pradesh, especially highways involving large-scale excavation of hills, she added.

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