The controversial multi-crore Tata Camelot Housing Project proposed in Kansal, SAS Nagar, can now come up as the Punjab and Haryana high court has made clear that the stay imposed on construction activity in Sukhna Lake's catchment area would not affect the project.
But the stay on construction activity in catchment area of Sukhna Lake imposed by the high court on May 14, 2012, would continue.
The Rs 1,800-crore venture has been proposed on 53.39 acres of land, which would have around 2,100 flats in 19 buildings ranging between 12 and 35 storeys, near to the Chandigarh Capitol Complex.
The project's fate was hanging in the balance in the courts since November 2010 when it was challenged in the high court.
The decision came up on Wednesday in view of the earlier orders of the court issued on March 26 last year, while disposing of a public interest litigation challenging the project, in which the housing project was given clearance subject to the mandatory clearances under various Acts from the authorities concerned.
The division bench, comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih, observed that the project was never linked with the catchment area and it was just in the context later that it had come up that any construction in the area would affect the natural flow of water to the Sukhna Lake. However, detailed orders of the case are yet to be released by the court.
Project gets mandatory clearance
Appearing for the Tatas, senior Supreme Court advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi informed the court that the company had got all required clearances for the project. The permission granted to the project by the executive officer, nagar panchayat Nayagaon, on July 5, regarding erection of buildings, making excavations and access to the road in the controlled area as per the approved plan of Kansal village was also put on record before the court.
The permission was granted by the executive officer subject to vacation of stay on construction put by the high court on May 14, 2012. Also, it was mentioned that the construction should be strictly according to the plan approved by the nagar panchayat, Nayagaon, and would only start after environmental clearance. The court was also informed that the project had also got the clearance from the state environment impact assessment committee.
Stay on rest of catchment area to continue
Senior advocate Arun Palli, appearing for the Kansal villagers, argued, "When the stay put on the catchment area has been done away with for the Tata project, it should also be relaxed for us and we would also get mandatory clearances from the authorities."
On this, the court said, "We are concerned with the larger issue that what constitutes the catchment area and how water will flow into the Sukhna. For this we will have to wait for the final study report on the lake by the National Institute of Hydrology as it would clear the larger picture."
The counsel appearing for National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee, Uttarakhand, Onkar Singh Batalvi, informed the court that the institute would complete its study on Sukhna Lake within two months.
Tata housing company and Hash builders are developing the project and had also bought around 21.2 acres of land in Kansal from 129-member Punjab MLAs' society, that is Punjabi Cooperative House Building Society, and around 31 acres from around 130-member Defence Services Society in 2006. The proposed cost of the two bedroom flats is around Rs 1 crore and the three-bedroom flats is Rs 1.5 crore.
As per the map prepared by Survey of India in 2004, which was accepted by the high court in its orders on May 14, 2012, the area acquired by Tata also comes under the catchment area, where the construction had been stayed.