In a major blow to the embattled RJD chief Lalu Prasad, the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change has stopped the construction of a Rs 750-crore shopping mall being built by Delight Marketing Private Limited on the outskirts of the state capital.
The upcoming shopping complex, considered to be the biggest in Bihar, came to public knowledge when senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi launched a campaign to expose ‘dubious deals’ of the RJD chief and his family members to acquire property at various places, among them the site for a mall.
The Union ministry of environment has stopped work on the ground that the construction firm, Meridian Construction, did not procure the mandatory prior clearance from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), as pointed out by Modi.
The construction firm has been building a 14-floor complex with a built-up area of 7.66 lakh square feet on a 115-kattha plot near Saguna Mor in Danapur area for Delight Marking Private Limited, owned by former chief minister Rabri Devi and her deputy minister son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav.
In a letter dated May 15, the ministry has asked its regional office in Ranchi — headed by the principal chief conservator of forests — to enforce an immediate stop to the construction work and submit its report to the Centre within three weeks.
Copies of the ministry’s letter have also been sent to the member secretary, Bihar State Pollution Control Board, principal secretary, forests and environment, government of Bihar, SEIAA chairman besides chairman and managing director of Meridian Construction, Abu Dozana, also an RJD legislator, to ensure compliance of the order.
Talking to mediapersons on Friday, Modi said the Union ministry had taken cognizance of his letter regarding violation of the laid down environmental norms that were given a go-by by the agencies like SEIAA and the forest department, as the shopping complex belonged to Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who is also the deputy chief minister of Bihar.
In the letter, the Union ministry categorically noted that the project required environmental clearance and it was a case of violation of provisions of the environment impact assessment notification, 2006, and clearance can be granted by the ministry only. “The builder, in his application to SEIAA for clearance, has made it clear that the foundation work of the complex has begun,” Modi said.
Earlier, Modi had alleged that soil excavated for laying the foundation of the complex and building its basement were purchased by the Patna zoo without completing the formalities.
“It was a scam resorted to by the department of forest and environment being headed by the RJD chief’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav,” said the BJP leader.