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HC notice to Himachal, NHAI over frequent landslides

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed the order on a petition of Namita Maniktala, treating it as public interest litigation.

IANS | Shimla |

Expressing concern over frequent landslides in the state, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday issued notice to the Central and state governments and the National Highway Authority of India on a plea for directions to authorities to take necessary steps to reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed the order on a petition of Namita Maniktala, treating it as public interest litigation.

The petitioner said many parts of the state are prone to landslides, and residents and tourists have a fundamental right to life and it is the duty of the state to take precautions to prevent these.

Maniktala said experts have recommended measures to prevent landslides, but the state and the NHAI authorities are not taking into account the suggestions while undertaking developmental projects, especially the construction of highways involving large scale excavation of hills.

The petitioner prayed to direct the state to inform the court about the implementation of the measures suggested by the experts and to engage the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun to conduct a study on landslide vulnerable zones and suggest measures to prevent them.

She also prayed that the state might be directed to install landslide predicting devices as developed by IIT-Mandi and other similar devices in the landslide-prone areas.

The court listed the matter for the next hearing after four weeks and directed the respondents to file a reply by the next date.

This monsoon caused major landslides in the state’s Kangra, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts, claiming several lives. Terrifying videos capturing massive landslides in Sirmaur and Shimla districts had gone viral in the past two months.