Former Deputy Mayor of Shimla Tekinder Singh Panwar sought a Commission of Inquiry into alleged criminal negligence in the construction of the Kalka-Shimla NH-5 Fourlane.
The losses are happening frequently to businesses, Agriculture, and consumers at large year after year. Tourists are not able to visit even on weekends affecting the livelihood of lakhs of people depending for livelihood on the hospitality industry.
Off-season vegetable mainly, Tomato and Shimla Mirch and Apple are not being transported to Market outside the state which have forced consumers at large to suffer due to inflation and price rise.
The Apple Growers and farmers are suffering at the hands of Commission agents and jobbers as due to glut their produce is not getting a fair price.
This background it is high time that the state government must institute a Commission of Inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1952.
This should be headed by a retired judge of the supreme court, preferably someone who has been from Himachal Pradesh. This Col could go into details of the losses with a robust interface of the people.
This commission can also go into detail about the failures of the policy framework in the last couple of decades that have led to incessant disasters taking place in the state.
Addressing a press conference here today the deputy mayor demanded to Indict NHAI and ensure adequate compensation. The recent period has exposed the NHAI in their two projects namely the Chandigarh to Shimla, and Kiratpur to Manali four-lane works.
It has been proved without a doubt that the manner in which road construction was carried out is the main reason for both roads being blocked intermittently.
He said that it was against the norms of construction in the mountains, they were cut vertically and massive landslides got triggered after that.
He revealed that the geological report of both the roads along with the environmental impact assessment report is not even in the public domain.
The water contours were disturbed and there is a massive loss of biodiversity. Huge losses have been incurred for the people linked with agriculture, horticulture, and hospitality in the regions linked with the construction of these two roads.
Primarily these districts are Solan, Shimla, Kinnaur, Kullu, Lahaul & Spiti. These districts are also the fruit bowls of the state.
The NHAI officials along with the construction companies should be criminally prosecuted for their negligence.
He demanded that immediately a special investigation team (SIT) must be constituted by the government to look into the malfunctioning of the NHAI and also to explore the kickback, if any, to the construction companies in the construction of these two four-lane highways.
He also seeks remedial measures to balm the wounds of affected people by providing compensation to the hospitality industry The month of July has been without any bookings for most of the hotels and the B&Bs in the districts mentioned above.
In the Shimla district itself, there are estimated 5,000 tourism units, which include hotels, homestays, B&Bs, etc.
These units are also supporting a number of family units by providing them with direct employment in the industry.
Then there are other related ancillary units like the tourist guides, taxi operators, shops, etc., who have been completely devastated in the last two months, especially in July.
The NHAI should be made to pay a compensation of around Rs 500 crore to the hospitality industry in these two regions of Shimla, and Kullu, including the ancillary units. Institute a Commission of Inquiry.
The state government on its part must think deeply about the losses that have been incurred during this monsoon season.