The controversial development plans by a private party near the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) refinery in Chembur has now paved the way for various government agencies to pass the buck back and forth.
HPCL had moved the Bombay high court taking strong objection to conversion and development of land in its periphery by Oswal Agro Mills Ltd.
The court had earlier asked the state and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to explain how they converted the said zone from industrial to residential/commercial.
Now, in an affidavit filed by the corporation it has been revealed that the urban development department has not responded to the corporation’s queries regarding security concerns arising out of commercial development around sensitive establishments.
An affidavit filed by the development plan department, states that Oswal’s representation for conversion of industrial zone to commercial zone could not be withheld by the corporation from the security point of view, unless there is a specific order from the authority.
“No clarification has been received from the UD Department till today and hence, as per municipal commissioner’s August 2009 order sanction was granted,” the affidavit states.
A subsequent letter to the UD department in August 2011 by the municipal commissioner too has not received any reply, it adds.
It is also informed that Agro mills had the required clearance from the fire officer as well as the environment ministry.
BMC says that as of now they have issued IOD for three buildings, but a commencement certificate has been granted only for one building.
However, HPCL, counsels F Divetre and M Siodia pointed out to a division bench of justice P B Majmudar and justice R G Ketkar that the ministry of environment has not given clearance to the revised development plan.
An affidavit submitted by the environment department states that clearance was issued to the developer in October 2008, however, a subsequent clearance for the revised plan is yet to be accorded.
In yet another affidavit filed by the deputy director of Town Planning, says that HPCL is yet to comply with directions in order for the state to take a policy decision for taking possession of a portion of 500m from the neighbouring property, which can be treated as a buffer zone to ward of any security threat.
UD department meanwhile says that the corporation has the jurisdiction to grant the necessary permissions.
The court while adjourning the case till December 12 orally asked the corporation counsel to take instruction from municipal commissioner if the corporation will take responsibility if any untoward incident happens at the refinery.
HC has asked the secretary of MoEF to be present in court for the next hearing.