Niraj Lama has indeed raised some pertinent points, although I do not fully agree to some of his recommended solutions!
2.Re: Need for Relocation of people from identified vulnerable areas and Holistic Approach to Urban and Rural Development . This is a tough one! According to O’Malley’s Darjeeling District Gazetteer ,”when the British first acquired the hill territory in 1835, it was almost entirely under forest, and what small population it had, had been driven out by the oppression of the petty ruler whom they replaced. It was, in fact, estimated that the whole of this tract, comprising 138 square miles, contained only 100 souls.” He then goes on to say that due to Dr. Campbell’s (the first Superintendent) tireless effort to render Darjeeling the commercial centre of the hills, the population rapidly grew to 10,000 in 1850, 94,712 in 1871, 1,55,179 in 1881 and 2,23,314 in 1891, showing a staggering 43.4% during the decade 1981-91! According to Niraj, during the last decade if we are continuing to maintain an astounding growth rate of 40% in the
3.Re: Maximim permissible height of buildings . An Expert Committee had been formed for framing Bye-laws for Municipalities coming under Government of West Bengal, of which I was also a Member along with (Late) Shasheesh Prasad and Mr. Tshering, Technical Adviser DGHC to represent the hills. It is true that we had fixed up 11.5 meters as the maximum permissible height of buildings in the hills of
4.Re: Drainage System .The ‘Jhoras’ or natural hill streams form the backbone of our drainage system, but they are a neglected lot. In fact, it has been found that a majority of landslides during 2007 have been caused by ‘Jhora Erosion’. This is a massive problem – but where do we begin?. Since landslide protection has been the main plank for ‘save the hills’, I think we should start off by making a detailed inventory (supported by Mapping), of all the ‘jhoras’ within Kalimpong,
UPENDRA MANI PRADHAN