In an exclusive interview, Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh talks about how Adarsh violated all CRZ norms and how it is an open and shut case for the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF).
Today you have made a historic announcement of bringing down Adarsh…does this lay a precedent for other similar Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations?
I certainly hope that Adarsh will lay a precedent for cases to do with Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations. CRZ violations have been exploited over and over again for several years and Adarsh will set a case for taking these norms seriously.
So why is the entire structure being brought down when the argument was that the first six floors were legal?
The inquiry has brought out that the building never sought CRZ permissions even for its basic six floors, so the question of retaining it does not arise. It has violated the rules in the CRZ notification 1991. That they did not know of the law cannot be considered an excuse.
How is the state government going to keep up to the order since there is a legal dispute on the Adarsh case over the occupation certificate issue?
That is not under my purview and there was no prejudice in my decision. That is for the state government and the defence ministry to figure out, and also the law will take its own course.
So is there no escape route for Adarsh?
My brief was related to the structure and CRZ violations and my decision is that the building will be brought down in its entirety, within three months and the area restored to the way it was before Adarsh stood on that land. It is an open and shut case as far as MOEF is concerned.
How will this order affect other big projects under the scanner, for instance Lavasa?
I don’t want to comment on Lavasa order since the matter is sub judice. We will file our reply to the court on Monday.