Himachal govt to enact strict laws for regulating construction activities: CM – ET Infra

Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu

SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh government is contemplating enforcing stringent laws to regulate construction activities to ensure the safety of citizens during natural calamities, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said on Thursday. The government will make laws regarding permission for structural engineering, limit of land to withstand the weight and effective drainage system and appealed to people to support the government in its initiative, he said in a statement issued here.

Inaugurating a two-day workshop on the challenges of geological hazards, particularly earthquakes and landslides over the western Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh, the chief minister said the state suffered colossal losses during the monsoon season due to floods, cloudbursts, landslides and excessive water release from the reservoirs at critical hours.

“There is a need to amend the law and adopt a human approach towards the preservation of ecology in order to minimize the loss of human lives and property due to the disaster,” he said.

The workshop was organised by the State Disaster Management Authority and the Himachal Pradesh Council for Science, Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE).

Sukhu said the only way to prevent disasters and large-scale destruction is to respect the nature and promote a lifestyle that strikes an effective balance between development and the nature.

He said that large multi-storeyed buildings such as that of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Gorton Castle, Railway Board and the State Secretariat were intact because their foundation was on hard rocks and the buildings which were washed away by excessive rains and debris were erected on loose soil.

“It is pertinent to note that till three-four decades ago there were hardly any construction on the valley side but today constructions have mushroomed in the valley side which consists of soft soil and is prone to landslides,” he said.

Laying emphasis on the need to construct tunnels, Sukhu gave the example of Shimla-Kalka narrow gauge railway tracks wherein 103 tunnels were constricted to minimize damage to hills and added feasibility of tunnels must be explored in the constructions of roads.

He asserted that human greed and exploitation of the environs were among various other reasons behind the devastation. The people constructed their houses along streams and on river banks and did not pay any heed to the structural engineering, he said.

There was a need to study the reasons behind cloud bursts, he said, adding that global warming also contributed towards the changing pattern of the climate as even district Kinnaur and the cold desert of Lahaul and Spiti experienced rains whereas such a phenomenon was rarely witnessed before.

“The state was within the seismic zone and quite prone to earthquakes as well and we should also prepare ourselves accordingly,” he said, adding that the central government has accorded permission for setting up two doppler radars in Lahaul and Spiti and Kinnaur which would help in early warning detection of weather patterns.

He laid emphasis on identifying the places where incidents of landslides were being observed repeatedly, and added that effective steps should be taken to address the issue.

  • Published On Oct 6, 2023 at 08:13 AM IST

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