Adarsh may not have got environmental clearance
The 31-storey Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society — housing Army and naval commanders, bureaucrats and politicians — at Colaba may not have got the required environmental clearances.mumbai Updated: Oct 26, 2010 23:48 IST
The 31-storey Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society — housing Army and naval commanders, bureaucrats and politicians — at Colaba may not have got the required environmental clearances. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh has asked the state government to verify this.
The society, built on a 6,490 sq mt plot in the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) 2, was cleared on the condition that it would be a six-storey structure. The building was also initially promoted as housing for war veterans and widows. The society denied this.
CRZ 2 norms put restrictions on vertical development. The permission to build 31 storeys violated the norms that froze floor space index at 1.33 — that is, built-up area could not exceed 1.33 times the plot size.
“I have written to the state government on the issue,” Ramesh said on Tuesday. The letter has asked for a report and timeline of the environmental clearances given to the society.
State environment minister Suresh Shetty said the letter hadn’t reached him yet, but promised action if violations were found.
While society members said they got environmental clearances on March 11, 2003, Ramesh’s ministry denies it.
A letter of approval showed by society president Brigadier MM Wanchu is addressed by then Joint Director (Ministry of Environment and Forests) A Senthil Vel to Deputy Secretary (Urban Development) PV Deshmukh, who happens to be a member of the society.
It states the ministry has “delegated powers to the state government for undertaking development in CRZ 2 and this should be taken up as per CRZ notification 1991 and approved CZMP [Coastal Zone Management Plan] of Mumbai”.
RC Thakur, founding member of the society, said: “The proposal wasn’t forwarded to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA)... the clearance was given by the ministry directly.”
Ministry officials denied this. “As per the notification, the proposal should have been forwarded to the environment department and considered by the MCZMA. That never happened. It seems the Urban Development Department gave the clearance on its own. This letter can’t be considered an approval...” the official said.