Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said that it appears that Mumbai's controversial Adarsh housing society had violated environmental laws and demolition of the building was one of the options before the government.
"We sent a letter to the Maharashtra government on Oct 26 and we received an interim reply on Oct 27, saying there has been no approval given by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). So there is clear violation of the coastal regulation zone (CRZ)," Ramesh told CNN-IBN in a interview.
The Maharashtra government report on alleged CRZ violation by the controversial housing society is expected by Thursday after which the environment ministry will take a call on the matter.
Asked if the ministry could order demolition of the 31-storey housing complex, Ramesh said: "It is one option…it is certainly one very important option."
"You know when I go to Bhagwan Das Road in Delhi and see the White House (multi-storey residential) complex, I am reminded of the Adarsh Housing Society complex because it has a similar story," he said.
"There were many storeys that were built against the legally permissible. The court ordered the demolition of the additional floors, and today you can see the White House building with the top chopped off," he said.
"If a law has been violated, I think a law must be implemented very forcefully...I don't think there is any case of regularising any illegal building," he said.
Asked about allegations that he has been stopping projects in non-Congress ruled states, he said: "Most ridiculous argument…number of power projects that violated environment laws in Andhra Pradesh were put on hold, we put on hold a bauxite mining project in Vishakhapatnam."
"We have issued a pre-show cause notice for violation of the condition of environment clearance to the Polavaram multipurpose irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh...which happens to be my home state," he said.
Ramesh said any structure found in violation of CRZ will be proceeded against under the law.
"There are 8,000 illegal structures in Goa, we carried out a satellite imagery of Goa. We have told the Goa government that they must be demolished. The Goa government has been telling us that there are traditional structures (linked to fishermen)," he said.
"I told them I can understand fishermen..but I cannot understand five star hotels...I cannot understand vacation beach complexes…if there are fishermen and traditional communities, let's think of ways of resolving this issue," he added.
The 31-storey apartment block being constructed in the posh Colaba area of south Mumbai has been hit by allegations of corruption and irregularities, including charges that the flats meant for Kargil heroes and war widows were given to bureaucrats, relatives of politicians and former army and navy chiefs among others.