The 18-storey Har Siddhi Heights building in Worli could run into trouble the way Adarsh Housing Society did.
The state environment department has no records of green clearances granted to this building, which was a slum rehabilitation project and has influential bureaucrats and Indian Police Service officers as members.
The similarities with Adarsh don’t end with coastal regulation zone (CRZ) approvals. Har Siddhi Heights is also facing heat from the Navy, which had moved court seeking that the building be demolished because it was a security threat and was too close to its missile base, INS Trata.
The Navy had alleged that the building had not obtained the mandatory no-objection certificate from western naval authorities before construction.
The high court had last week temporarily stayed the sale of flats in the building.
The environment department on Monday sent a letter to the society asking it to submit clearances granted by the coastal authority. The department had made a request two weeks ago. It has written to the urban development department and the slum rehabilitation authority asking for the building’s records.
“The building proposal was cleared in 2001 when there was no need to approach the coastal authority for clearance. The notification [making clearance mandatory] came in April 2003,” said YP Singh, lawyer and activist, who has a flat in Har Siddhi Heights. “We have clearance from the urban development department. No buildings at the time [2001-2002] had sought clearance from state coastal authority.”
Singh’s contention could be challenged. The state coastal authority was set up in 1998 with a mandate to scrutinise proposals in CRZ areas and the notification issued then said it can scrutinise proposals forwarded to it by the state.
“In practice, the state did not forward any proposals to the coastal authority till much later in 2003. The decisions would be taken by urban development department. There will be more buildings that have violated coastal norms prior to the April 2003 notification,” said a former environment secretary, requesting anonymity.
The 2003 notification made it mandatory for all proposals located in CRZ and costing more than Rs5 crore to get clearance from the Centre.