The environment ministry has found Adarsh housing society’s argument that environment clearance for the project was not required flawed.
As a consequence, there is opinion in the ministry that the building be declared illegal on grounds that it did not obtain environment clearance as required under the Coastal Zone Regulation, 1991. And, its implication could be directions to the state to demolish unauthorised parts of the building. Of the 31 storeys, only six are allowed as per CRZ 1991, sources said.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh will take the final decision on the illegality found by the ministry. An announcement is expected by the end of the week. The environment and CRZ division of the ministry has found Adarsh society guilty of two violations — it failed to seek CRZ clearance as directed by the environment ministry and the FSI of the building was higher than stipulated in the CRZ regulations.
Admitting it had not taken the ministry’s approval, the society said it was not required as CRZ regulations were applicable only for industrial projects requiring waterfront and offshore facilities.
The ministry has cited the CRZ notification of 1997, which delegated powers to approve residential projects in coastal areas to states.
Subsequently, in 2003, the 1997 order was cancelled after alleged misuse of delegated powers.
Both the ministry and state said the society’s claim it received a no-objection certificate from the ministry in 2003 was “totally wrong”. It was a letter allowing change in land use and not for construction, a ministry official said.