Uttarakhand High Court directs state government to file an affidavit explaining its inaction in Tourism Development Plan for Doon Valley

LI Network

Published on: 16 June 2023 at 15:37 IST

The Uttarakhand High Court has instructed the State government to submit a written statement clarifying why it has not taken any action in creating a Tourism Development Plan (TDP) for Doon Valley.

A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that was filed against the State’s lack of action in preparing the TDP and Master Plan for Doon Valley.

During the previous court session, attention was brought to a Notification issued on 01.02.1989 by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, which imposed restrictions on the location of industries, mining operations, and other development activities in the Doon Valley, in the former state of Uttar Pradesh.

According to this Notification, the Central Government placed restrictions on various activities in the Doon Valley, including the establishment of industrial units, mining, tourism, grazing, and land use. The responsibility of preparing a Tourism Development Plan (TDP) with the approval of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest was entrusted to the State Department of Tourism. The purpose of this plan was to impose restrictions, among other things, on tourism activities in the Doon Valley.

However, it has been more than 34 years since the issuance of the 1989 Notification, and the State Tourism Department has not yet prepared a tourism development plan, as noted by the Bench.

On June 13, the Standing Counsel B.S. Parihar submitted written instructions to the Court stating that the State does not have any plans to develop a Tourism Development Plan. The Court found this situation completely unacceptable, as the failure of the State Department of Tourism to prepare the TDP goes against the statutory Notification issued by the Central Government under Section 3(2)(v) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and Rule 5(3)(d) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.

The Bench directed the Secretary of Tourism, Government of Uttarakhand, to be present during the next hearing of the petition, either in person or virtually.

The order also stated that the State should submit an affidavit explaining its inaction in preparing the TDP, considering the purpose of the 1989 Notification, which was to impose restrictions on tourism activities in the Doon Valley.

The matter is scheduled for further hearing on July 25, 2023.

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