The Uttarakhand High Court took a stern stance in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) concerning the non-compliance with the Doon Valley notification for the creation of a tourism development plan within the valley. During the proceedings on Wednesday, the division bench, comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal, strongly rebuked the state government. They emphasized that while the Himalayas have stood for thousands of years, the recent surge in disasters is entirely a consequence of human activities.
In a scathing critique, the judges accused the state government of disregarding the law and having an excessive inclination toward commercialization. The court’s attention was drawn to the PIL, filed by lawyer and environmentalist Akash Vashishtha, who sought strict enforcement of the Doon Valley Notification (1989) under the Environment (Protection) Act. Vashishtha’s plea was prompted by the occurrence of landslides and subsidence in areas such as Dhanaulti and Chamba due to heavy rains.
The Doon Valley region encompasses prominent areas like Dehradun, Mussoorie, Rishikesh, Haridwar, and their surroundings. The court observed that the state government had failed to formulate the necessary tourism development plan as required by the aforementioned notification. Consequently, the court directed the Central Government to provide an affidavit outlining the status of the implementation and adherence to the Doon Valley notification.
Furthermore, the court issued a clear directive to the state government, instructing officials to prepare a comprehensive plan within the next four weeks to address the concerns raised in the PIL. The court then scheduled the next hearing on this matter for October 3.