It appears Berkeley Realtech Ltd, a leading real estate developer in the region, is heading for big trouble by reportedly going ahead with construction of a building in Industrial Area (Phase-I) without obtaining the necessary environmental clearance. The company plans to lease out commercial, retail and industrial space in the building when it is completed.
The UT environment department has now decided to file a criminal case against the company for violating the Environment Protection Act, 1986. According to environment and forests ministry regulations, any project to construct a building over 20,000 sq m has to get prior clearance.
According to the department’s director Santosh Kumar, Berkeley Realtech had stated before the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee that the construction area of the proposed project was 19,934 sq metres and hence it did not require the environmental nod.
Expressing apprehension, the department wrote to the UT deputy commissioner-cum-estate officer to again conduct a check on the site. The DC later set up a committee that found the built-up area of the building site to be over 20,000 sq metres.
In a communication to the environment director, the UT sub-divisional officer (buildings) maintained the total built-up area of the site, located at plot no 24 in Industrial Area (Phase I) was 22,019.82 sq metres for the purpose of environment clearance as per the environment and forests ministry notification dated April 2, 2012. The built-up area includes the basement, mezzanine floor and area of mumty (staircase towers) and machine room on the terrace, excluding the area occupied by lifts, public health ducts, cutouts and open portion of building not covered at the intermediate floor level.
“We will proceed after getting the nod from higher officials. The company will be booked under sections 15 and 16 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986,” Kumar said.
Sanjay Dahuja, director of Berkeley Realtech, said the firm obtained sanction for the construction based on report of the UT estate office and the architecture department stating the builtup area of the site was 19,934 sq-metres. “The site was re-examined and we have yet to receive details. There are no violations and the company has complied with all norms.”