Shimla : In a blow to the ruling BJP government here the Himachal high court on Friday cleared the much delayed ambitious multi-billion dollar ski-village project to be built in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu valley .
The court set aside a cancellation notice by the ruling BJP government clearing the way for executing the project after environment and other mandatory clearances are obtained by the promoting company which is a subsidiary led by Alfred Ford .
The 77 page order by judge Rajiv Sharma cancelled the state government’s cancellation notice of Jan 2010 and allowed the company to proceed with the project which was approved by the earlier state government(Congress) back in Nov 2005.
The order observed , “It is duly established that the state government had already made up its mind to cancel the project and the issuance of notice based on the recommendations of the state’s high-power committee was merely a ritual .”
It further said , “the notice issued to the company on Jan 7 , 2010 is without jurisdiction and authority of law . The action of the state to issue notice is unreasonable.”
The company had moved the high court against the BJP government’s show cause notice in Jan 2010 asking it to explain the reasons for not fulfilling mandatory requirements of the government .The court’s order said the state government changed its stand by earlier supporting the case of the company and later opposing it .
“Governance is a continuous process . There should be consistency in the policy matters taken by the state government ,” the order said .
The company had in April 2004 shown keen interest in setting up the ambitious ski village project in the mountains close to the popular tourist resort town of Manali .
The Congress government had signed an agreement with the Himalayan ski village company for setting up of the project which at that time was considered the biggest FDI in the tourism sector in the entire country .
Interestingly the BJP even involved the local deities (or village gods) and their oracles in the conservative Kullu valley saying like the locals the village deities were also opposed to the ski village project as it was against local interests .