Buying property in Pune? Beware of realtors flouting green norms
As many as 80 projects in the city allegedly flouted green norms and if found guilty could be fined up to ₹1 lakh or jailed up to five yearspune Updated: Jul 02, 2017 23:33 IST
Property buyers should be cautious while purchasing flats in view of the latest revelations on criminal complaints filed against 80 mega projects in Pune by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) for violation of environment norms. This was expressed by citizens and citizen-activists while reacting to an exclusive report in Hindustan Times on July 2 (Criminal cases on 80 mega projects).
The report published by HT in its Sunday edition revealed how Maharashtra’s environmental watchdog has filed criminal complaints against the developers and owners of about 80 projects that allegedly flouted green norms to build sprawling complexes in the fringe areas of Pune.
The complaints were before the chief judicial magistrate between 2014 and 2017 under the Environment Protection Act (EPA) 1986. In the dock are projects run by Pune-based firms Marvel Realtors, Nyati Builders, Rahul Construction, Suyog Development Corporation and information technology company Zensar Technologies, among others.
The cases are being heard, and those found guilty can be fined up to ₹1 lakh or jailed up to five years, or both. The full list of the alleged violators is with HT.
Reacting to the criminal complaints against the projects, advocate Asim Sarode said the developers need to be sensitive to the environment and should ensure that they have all the necessary clearance before going ahead with the construction.
“Environment management is an important issue that needs to be taken seriously by developers. Prior to starting construction, developers should see if they have all the relevant permissions or not so as to avoid getting stuck in legal tangle. It’s equally important for buyers to ensure their builder has taken all relevant permissions before purchasing the flat,” said Sarode.
Activist Vijay Kumbhar said, the violations by these developers are serious. “Unfortunately we don’t have many agencies which can keep a check on such violations so that buyers will know in advance if the developers have taken all necessary permissions.” Kumbhar said while it is mandatory for builders to upload all information related to project on the portal created by Real Estate Regularity Authority (RERA), the agency does not have necessary set up in place to ascertain the veracity of these documents.
“The lack of infrastructure in place to check if the project is following all rules and regulations increases the possibility of frauds. Ultimately the customer is loser,” he added.
Pune’s real-estate sector has zoomed in the past decade, buoyed by growing demand from IT and education sectors. In the past few years, several reports of hill cutting, illegal land transactions, rampant use of dam water and razing of trees raised concerns about the future of the nearly 10,000 species of flora and fauna found across the Western Ghats. One prominent instance of a major real estate project in Pune district that came under severe strictures for environmental violations was the 2000-hectare Lavasa hill city Project in the heavily forested area of Mulshi taluka in Pune district.
Prominent ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, said, “Rampant construction activities have already caused enormous damage to environment. The least developers can do is to follow environmental norms.”
While Zensar Technologies refused to react on the issue saying matter is sub judice, Rahul Kunkulol, promoter of Rahul Construction said the firm was found to have violated the rules in one of its project though later it received sanction. Bharat Shah, founder of Suyog Development Corporation, and the respondent in an MPCB case filed this year, said, “The case has been there but we have already submitted our application (for environmental clearance)”