Thursday January 18, 2018

NGT tells Himachal Govt to take steps to reduce noise pollution

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Shimla: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Himachal Pradesh government to take a slew of steps aimed at reducing air and noise pollution in the state capital.

The state has been ordered to impose Rs.500 as “green tax” on each vehicle emitting pollution on Shimla’s restricted roads, including the Mall Road.

The tribunal asked the government to consider implementing one-way traffic on the Cart Road, the circular road in the state capital.

“Definite steps are required to be taken at the earliest. If not taken now, the day is not far when ambient air quality of Shimla would deteriorate to an undesirable level, causing health hazards,” the NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar observed.

“It’s a matter of common knowledge that air and noise pollution, particularly in Shimla, is increasing by the day. Traffic congestion is one of the major contributors to such excessive pollution,” the bench said.

The state was ordered to declare “silence zones” and display sign boards at conspicuous places in Shimla and ensure that no noise was produced by any process, including horns, in such zones.

The tribunal also directed to ensure no parking was allowed on the sealed roads, besides smooth traffic movement on the Cart Road.

The NGT asked the Himachal government to revisit all vehicle permits for sealed and restricted roads within three months, completely prohibiting or restricting vehicular traffic on such roads.

The 13-page order asked that the state government take immediate steps to strictly comply with the directions.

It said authorities had not complied with its earlier orders.

Favouring the practice of automobile-free zones, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had also sought status reports from the state as to how many vehicles were allowed to ply on the sealed roads of Shimla.

It also sought replies on the steps taken to implement the Shimla Road Users and Pedestrians (Public Safety and Convenience) Act of 2007.

Shimla has several automobile-free zones to facilitate unrestricted movement of pedestrians.(IANS)

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Himachal CM launches campaign to clean drinking water reservoirs

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Himachal CM launches campaign to clean drinking water reservoirs
Himachal CM launches campaign to clean drinking water reservoirs. wikimedia commons

Shimla, Jan 1, 2018: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday kicked off a cleanliness drive from the state capital under the Swachh Bharat Mission by launching a campaign to clean drinking water reservoirs.

Greeting people on New Year’s day, he said the water tank in Sanjauli town, where the campaign was launched, is the largest in the state with a storage capacity of 90 lakh litres.

He said his government is committed to total cleanliness under the Swachh Bharat Mission of the government of India.

The Chief Minister directed the Irrigation and Public Health Department to undertake a drive to clean water tanks on priority — and asked them to undertake the effort twice a year. Besides, other traditional water sources should also be cleaned regularly.

Noting that, due to the tough topography of the state, people had to often travel long distances to get water, he said: “I assure you that every kitchen and bathroom will have water taps.”

The Chief Minister announced a reduction by half of taxi fares for patients and attendants visiting the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla. The new fare will be Rs 10 per person.

Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahendar Singh said the cleanliness campaign would continue for 15 days.

Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, who is the legislator from Shimla, said it was unfortunate that a body of a boy was fished out from a water tank in Shimla last year and the government would now ensure that no such incident occured in the future. (IANS)

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