Centre's flip-flop on Noida memorial angers apex court
The central government came under fire in the Supreme Court today for yet another flip-flop on the status of the controversial Noida Park - a dream project of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.india Updated: Aug 20, 2010 22:50 IST
The central government came under fire in the Supreme Court on Friday for yet another flip-flop on the status of the controversial Noida Park - a dream project of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.
The centre's affidavit is "neither here nor there" in terms of the provisions of the Schedule II of the Environmental Impact assessment Notification of 2006, an apex court forest bench of Chief Justice S.H.Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan was told by the amicus curiae Harsh Salve.
Salve told the court not to decide Noida Park matter on the strength of central environment and forest ministry affidavit as it would open the floodgates for clearing other similar projects. He said that the court should first hear the matter and then decide.
In its affidavit, the ministry said that the Noida project was nothing more than an "area development activity" as it involved development of a park, and thus required no environmental clearance - a position in total contrast to its earlier stance.
During the course of hearing July 30, the ministry, in its then affidavit, said that it could not grant environmental clearance to the project until and unless the Uttar Pradesh government complied with all the conditions laid down by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC).
The latest affidavit, of Aug 18, had come in response to the apex court seeking to know the definition of "building and construction projects" and "township or area development projects", and also seeking to know from the ministry the "objective criteria" for the purpose and classifying any project under two categories.
And, finally the court wanted to know under which category the Noida project came.
The ministry said that Noida park project has a built-up area of 6,999 square metres while the land area is 33.43 hectares, thus it fell in the category of an area development project.
Salve told the court that the ministry was trying to separate the built-up area from rest of the activities area of the park under the sky and it was a mistaken understanding of the provision of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006.
Opposing the central government's affidavit, senior counsel Jayant Bhushan told the court that once permission was granted for Noida Park, then it would be difficult to challenge the "subjective view" of the government, and urged that the Uttar Pradesh government should not be allowed to get away with its wrong and illegal actions.
The arguments in the matter would continue the next Friday.