HP Govt notifies draft Shimla Development Plan: In a significant move to regulate construction activities in the state’s capital city, the Himachal Pradesh Government recently notified the draft Shimla Development Plan. This comprehensive plan introduces new provisions pertaining to the number of floors, habitable attics, and garages in buildings, aiming to address concerns related to haphazard construction and environmental conservation.
The State Cabinet, on Monday, approved the final draft presented by the Urban Development Department. While the plan had received approval from the previous government in February 2022, its implementation was delayed due to a stay order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The NGT had deemed the plan illegal and in conflict with orders from 2017 aimed at regulating unplanned construction in Shimla.
Following the Supreme Court’s directive on May 3, the draft plan was once again approved. However, the Apex Court specified that the plan would not be implemented for a month from the date of the notification, issued on June 20.
Named “Vision 2041,” the plan, once executed, will facilitate construction in 17 green belts with specific restrictions. Additionally, it will allow construction in the core area where activity had been previously banned by the NGT.
The detailed guidelines encompass various aspects, including the number of storeys, parking provisions, attic specifications, and height restrictions for structures. Notably, the plan emphasizes that tree felling will not be permitted in green areas. The government has taken a proactive step by declaring the attic as a habitable area and increasing its permissible height to 3.5 meters.
The plan categorizes construction allowances based on different zones. In 17 green belts, construction of one storey with a habitable attic is permissible. In core areas, two storeys with a habitable attic and parking are allowed, while in non-core areas, three storeys with parking and a habitable attic are permissible.
A comprehensive revision and formulation of the development plan took into account a total of 22,450 hectares. This included the Municipal Corporation of Shimla, special area development authorities of Kufri, Shoghi, and Ghanahatti, along with the additional Shimla planning area and several villages.
One notable aspect of the plan is the proposal to develop Jubbarhatti and Ghandal as activity-based counter-magnet towns. These towns will be equipped with essential urban amenities such as education, health facilities, and spaces for trade and commerce. This strategic approach aims to distribute development activities across various areas, preventing over-concentration in the core city and promoting balanced growth.
The overarching goal of the Shimla Development Plan is to strike a balance between urban development and environmental conservation. By delineating specific guidelines and restrictions, the government aims to foster sustainable growth, ensuring that construction activities align with ecological preservation efforts.
The plan’s emphasis on restricting tree felling in green areas underscores the commitment to environmental sustainability. Additionally, the recognition of attics as habitable spaces reflects a progressive approach toward optimizing land use while accommodating the growing needs of the population.
In conclusion, the Shimla Development Plan, titled “Vision 2041,” signifies a pivotal step by the Himachal Pradesh Government toward sustainable urban development. By addressing the challenges posed by haphazard construction and incorporating stringent guidelines, the plan aims to shape a future where development coexists harmoniously with nature. As the government prepares to implement this visionary plan, it sets a precedent for other regions to adopt strategic urban development approaches that prioritize both progress and environmental well-being.
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