Protecting hill stations

a total ban on construction of farmhouses in green zones and immediate demolition of illegal structures in the Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani hill stations of Satara district in the state of Maharashtra has been recommended by a high-level committee headed by the divisional commissioner of Pune. The Mumbai High Court had appointed the committee following a writ petition by the Bombay Environmental Action Group ( beag ) challenging the legality of constructions in the hill stations.

"In no case, any of the structures should be allowed to be regularised. Action under prevailing legislations should be initiated either to demolish or stop the misuse of the property,' the committee observed. The committee said that while the municipal and revenue authorities should be directed to demolish unauthorised construction, any failure in taking action in such cases should invite strict action and be treated as contempt of court on the part of the owner and government officials. Even if farmhouses are permitted under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, they should not be allowed in Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani areas, it said.

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