Former civic chief, Jairaj Phatak, has enclosed extracts of minutes of two Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) meetings in October 2003 and October 2007, to bolster his defence of Adarsh society to the inquiry commission.
Phatak, a 1978 batch IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre, is being questioned as he was the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)commissioner and was chairing the high-rise committee, when some of the permissions were granted to the controversial society.
Extracts of the minutes of the October 15, 2003 meeting states: ‘Proposals of repairs/reconstruction received by MCZMA, which are below Rs 5 crore, shall be referred to the UDD for necessary action. New projects will be decided by UDD in consultation with the environment department’.
Interestingly, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had in its 1999 order set up state coastal bodies to clear such projects, making UDD’s role redundant. In 2003, MoEF issued a notification asking all projects above Rs5 crore to be referred to it.
Extracts of the minutes of the October 2007 meeting refers to a Worli building recommended by MCZMA to MoEF with a positive note asking it to load FSI of 1.33 from the de-reserved garden plot to this building. Phatak, as a member of the MCZMA at the time, had commented that BMC had granted two similar permissions earlier.
Interestingly, MCZMA was apprised of this project only after MoEF sought its recommendation. Originally, UDD had recommended this case to MoEF directly.