Shimla, Dec 4: The Himachal Pradesh government Friday decided to issue a show cause notice to Ford Motor Company that is executing a multi-billion dollar Ski Village project in Manali for not fulfilling mandatory requirements, an official said here.
"The cabinet at its meeting this (Friday) evening decided to issue a show-cause notice to Ford Motor Company, which is setting up the Ski Village project in upper Manali (in Kullu district)," Chief Secretary Asha Swaroop told reporters.
"We have given time to the company to explain the reasons for not fulfilling mandatory requirements pointed out by the government," she said.
She said the company had not submitted the detailed project report (DPR) yet to the government. The central government has also rejected the environment impact assessment report.
"The company had sent the environment impact assessment report to the central government for approval, which was rejected. After this, the company did not again apply. The government told it several times to fulfill the requirement, but there was no response," Swaroop said.
"Even the state's high-power committee comprising revenue, legal, tourism, forest and other officials expressed concern over local and social issues and issues related to environment," she pointed out.
The committee, headed by Principal Secretary (Tourism) Manisha Nanda, visited the spot where the project is to be executed June 6, and heard the views and grievances of the locals.
The locals have asked the state government to scrap the project as it would not only affect the environment but also hit their livelihood.
Maheshwar Singh, three-time former MP who represented the locals, had raised issues regarding the impact of the project on environment, land, local rights and use of natural resources.
Ski Village's top official John Sims, who met Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal after the cabinet meeting, told IANS: "We welcome it (the show-cause notice) as an opportunity to explain our position in this regard. Of course, there are some communication gaps and misunderstanding between the company and the government. We will try to fill those gaps."
He said the project was totally eco-friendly and would be beneficial for the locals too.
"We are concerned about the welfare of the locals and the environment. So far, we have invested Rs. 80 crore in the project," he added.
Alfred Ford of the Ford Motor Company had in April 2004 shown interest in setting up a high-end ski resort project in the Himalayas. The state government entered into an agreement with the Himalayan Ski Village Company in December 2005 for establishing the project.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - then in the opposition and now ruling - had demanded that the project be scrapped.
When it came to power in January 2008, the BJP said the project was sanctioned by the previous Congress government in a hush-hush manner and raised doubts on the project's adverse impact on the environment and livelihood of the people. (IANS)