The Uttarakhand High Court on 8 November 2016 ordered all hill stations and glaciers in the state to be declared as eco-sensitive within three months. The order also demands putting a ban on all construction within 25 km radius of the glaciers.
The order came on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the court's intervention for stopping illegal construction and felling of trees in the vicinity of Nainital.
Key highlights of the order
• A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice Rajeev Sharma and Justice Alok Singh also stated that there should be restriction on the number of people visiting the glaciers besides imposition of a tax on them.
• The High Court directed all municipal boards and nagar panchayats along the Ganges and the Yamuna to set up sewage treatment plants within six months besides asking the government to check water quality every 24 hours.
• The High Court banned all new construction and felling of trees within a radius of two kilometres and five kilometers respectively around the lakes of Bhimtal, Sattal, Naukuchyataal, Nainital and Khurpataal.
• The court also ordered that no new construction should take place within a radius of 25 km of Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers and no fossil fuel be burnt within a radius of 10 km around them.
• The petition alleged largescale felling of trees and illegal construction in various areas has been going on unnoticed by the authorities.
• The court directed the DM and Chairman of Lake Development Authority to comply with the order with immediate effect.
• The court also directed the state government to approach an institute like National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to determine the load bearing capacity of the areas in question within the next six months after which the fate of new constructions will be further determined.
When: 8 November 2016