Uttarakhand HC scraps Dehradun master plan
The Uttarakhand high court quashed the Master Plan for Dehradun and Mussoorie, the notification for which was issued in 2008 and 2013. The HC also ordered that, while preparing a new “Master Plan”, land under “tea garden” in Dehradun “shall not be converted to any other use and its status shall be maintained.” The court remarked, “It is a very sensitive matter. There is callousness, insensitivity in the approach adopted by the respondents (the state government and government agencies concerned).”
A division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh stated in the order that “the government order dated 19th November, 2008, notifying the Master Plan and the government order dated 28-11-2013 modifying the Master Plan are quashed and set aside.”
The HC also said in the order that it is a case where “exemplary penalties are to be imposed on the state, which has failed to protect the environment and ecology of Doon valley” by enforcing the notifications of the Master Plan. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on officials and departments concerned. “We deem it fit and proper to impose a cost of Rs 5 lakh on the respondents, to be recovered from erring officers/officials,” the HC ordered.
The court also observed that, considering the fragile eco-system of Doon valley and to ensure that development activities are consistent with the principles of environmental conservation, the “Master Plan/Land Use Plan” of the entire area was to be prepared by the state government and it was to be approved by the “Union ministry of environment & forests.”