Caught in legal tangles and controversies, the Rs 18 crore aerial ropeway to Jakhu hill, the site of an ancient Hanuman temple, can finally get rolling as the Himachal Pradesh High Court has clearing the decks for its early commissioning.
In 2011, the High Court’s green bench had stopped the work on the project —- a joint venture of Himachal Pradesh government and Jagson International Company — after taking note of serious concerns over environmental and structural safety aspects .The project had run into trouble after promoter firm, Jagson International, added two floors to raise the height of the base tower from sanctioned 11-storeys to 13-storey concrete structure in the core Shimla belt, where no construction is permitted.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice RBMishra has disposed of a PIL after Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) filed an affidavit informing about the state government’s decision to impose penalty of Rs 60.68 lakh on the company for regularisation of the additional floors.
Prior to this, the Town and Country Planning department too had conveyed to the High Court that an independent expert body has also certified the stability of the building.
“In the light of the affidavit filed by the respondents, nothing more is required to be done in the present petition. The same is disposed of,” the court order reads.
Contacted Principal secretary (Tourism) VC Pharka said, “I think this long awaited tourism project will play a big role in attracting tourists. The tourism department being a stake holder, will ask the company to complete the project without any further delay.”
The project was conceived in the mid-eighties but the state remained undecided on its execution by private sector. The SMC made an attempt to execute the project with the base station at Rani Jhansi Park, but later the Tourism department came into picture in 2004-05 and chose to enter into a joint venture deal with the Delhi-based private promoters . The company, however, committed some serious building violations and also ignored some of the environmental aspects and structural safety due to which the court intervened