Thursday April 2, 2020

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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Visit Himachal Pradesh to Bask in the Warmth of Mellow Sunshine!

Chandigarh's meteorological department said dense to very dense fog would likely to continue at a few places in Punjab and Haryana till Wednesday

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Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh is one of the lesser known travel destinations in india. Wikimedia Commons
Tirthan Valley in Himachal Pradesh is one of the lesser known trekking destinations in India. Wikimedia Commons

The weather is ‘cosy’ these days in hills of Himachal Pradesh compared to the Northern plains where dense fog is screening out the sun.

The hilly state is receiving regular sunshines and for a longer duration.

The weather in picturesque tourist resorts of Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Kasauli, Chail, Dharamsala, Palampur and Manali is ‘warm’ and perfect for a break from the biting chill of the plains where the sun has largely been fogged out.

“What a mellow sunshine is in Shimla,” remarked Kriti Aggarwal, a tourist from Delhi.

She said it was a great relief from the prevailing fog that did not allow sun rays to penetrate over ground levels.

Her friend Kanika Gupta added: “For hours, we relaxing and basking under the sun. Even nights are cosy here compared to the plains.”

Manmohan Singh, director of Shimla’s meteorological department, told IANS on Monday that most of the hill destinations have a pleasant weather owing to long sunny days compared to the plains.

“The maximum temperature in the hills is two-three degrees below average but due to prevailing sunny days the temperature will see rise and will be normal in a day or two,” he said.

According to him, dry weather would largely prevail in the state till December 31, ruling out the possibility of snow and rain across the state.

Himachal, the most wanted place to visit for New Year
Himachal, the most wanted place to visit for New Year. Wikimedia Commons

The humidity level over 80 per cent causes fog. In the the hills it’s around 50 per cent currently, compared to 80 per cent in the hills.

In Shimla, located around 7,000 feet above sea level, the maximum temperature on Sunday was 13.8 degrees Celsius, while the minimum was 3.6 degrees on Monday.

The night temperature in Dharamsala was 2.6 degrees Celsius, whereas popular tourist resort Manali saw a low of minus three degrees.

At 14.3 degrees below freezing point, Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district was the coldest in the state. Kalpa, some 250 km from the state capital, saw a low of minus 2.9 degrees Celsius.

In Chandigarh, the maximum temperature was 0.6 degree Celsius less than Shimla’s on Sunday, with the minimum hovering around 9 degrees Celsius.

Also Read: Caffeine Can Offset Negative Effects of an Obesogenic Diet: Research

The Met office in Chandigarh predicted foggy conditions to continue in the city till Wednesday.

The prevailing maximum temperature in Chandigarh is six to seven degrees below season’s average due cloudy and shallow fog.

Chandigarh’s meteorological department said dense to very dense fog would likely to continue at a few places in Punjab and Haryana till Wednesday. (IANS)