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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Eco norm to affect realty deals

Ketaki Ghoge , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 11, 2013
First Published: 09:54 IST(11/7/2013) | Last Updated: 10:00 IST(11/7/2013)

The union environment ministry’s order of issuing stopwork notices to ongoing projects where the construction work has begun without the mandatory green nod could impact several real estate deals in the city.

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The state environment panels that scrutinise construction projects covering over 20,000sqm have, so far, come across more than 30 instances where the work was started without the mandatory nod.

While the projects that have been scrutinised will not be affected, the rest will get stopwork notices under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act (EPA).

Following the Lavasa Hill city and the Adarsh society controversy – both the projects were constructed without the required clearance -- the ministry came across several similar violations and issued a memorandum in December 2012, which laid down the procedure to appraise such projects.

According to the memorandum, it is mandatory for the state government to prosecute the developer under section 15 of the EPA.

If convicted, the developer could face imprisonment for up to 5 years or a penalty of up to Rs1 lakh.

Officials pointed out that in most cases the developers get away by just paying the penalty.

A case in point could be a fivestar hotel in central Mumbai that had constructed the entire tower without getting the required environment clearance.

Even as a case was filed against the developer under section 15 of the EPA, the authorities granted clearance to the hotel.

Throughout the procedure, the construction of the hotel or its operation was not brought to a halt.

Under the new directive issued on June 27, along with prosecution under EPA, the work of the ongoing project will be completely restricted, until the developer gets the clearance.

The stop-work notice will also be issued to buildings where violation is on account of utilising higher than permissible FSI.


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