The environment ministry has asked Adarsh society why the 31-storey building in Mumbai should not be demolished, but shied away from recommending action against Maharashtra government officials who turned a blind eye to the “blatant” violations.
The ministry on Friday declared the building illegal.
“We have asked why an unauthorised structure should not be removed,” environment minister Jairam Ramesh said. The building was ostensibly for families of Kargil war heroes, but families of politicians such as Ashok Chavan — who was removed as chief minister — and top military leaders got the flats instead. In return, the building was allowed construction in violation of norms.
Asked what action would be taken against officials involved, Ramesh said, ““What action can be taken in a democracy? You all know what happened”.
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority had issued a notice in November 2009 to Adarsh following a complaint by National Alliance of People’s Movement but closed the case when told that the approval to construct the building was granted by the urban development department.
“As per law, they (the authority) should had pursued the case to find whether CRZ approval was taken. But there was a lot of pressure on officials not to pursue it,” an official said.
Ramesh complimented the authority for issuing the notice.
The ministry found that the mandatory CRZ approval was not taken either from the state or central government.
The society has been given two weeks to submit a written reply and an additional week to make a personal appearance, if they desire.