NGT slaps ₹195 cr fine on Pune’s Goel Ganga Developers for environmental damage
The latest order has been issued in the wake of a review petition filed by Tanaji Gambhire, a customer who has purchased a flat in the Goel Ganga scheme.pune Updated: Jan 09, 2018 15:22 IST
Pune The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday imposed a fine of ₹195 crore on city-based Goel Ganga Developers for causing environmental damage at its Ganga Bhagyodaya, Amrut Ganga and Ganga Towers projects on Sinhagad road.
The latest order has been issued in the wake of a review petition filed by Tanaji Gambhire, a customer who has purchased a flat in the Goel Ganga scheme.
The flat purchaser in the said scheme filed an application on December 2015 alleging serious environmental damages and the NGT passed an order dated September 27, 2016, imposing fine of ₹100 crore or five per cent of the project cost, whichever is less; this is in addition to another fine of ₹5 crore for contravening several environmental laws in carrying out construction activities, including exceeding the limits of the available environment clearance without obtaining consent.
A statement by the advocate who represented Gambhire said that the petitioner filed the review application before the tribunal over the demolition of an illegal structure, enhancement of the fine to ₹500 crore and appropriate action against authorities.
The applicant pursued the review application wherein the question of non-consideration of affidavit of carbon footprint was not replied to by Goel Ganga with details.
The NGT in its judgement dated January 8 states, “Goel Ganga Developers India Private Limited shall pay environmental compensation cost of ₹190 crore or 5% (five per cent) of the total cost of project to be assessed by State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC), whichever is more, for restoration and restitution of environment damage and degradation caused by the project proponent by carrying out the construction activities without the necessary prior environmental clearance within a period of one month. In addition to this, it shall also pay a sum of ₹5 crore for contravening mandatory provision of several environment laws in carrying out the construction activities in addition to and exceeding limit of the available environment clearance and for not obtaining the consent from the Board.”
Expressing disagreement with the NGT order, Atul Goel, managing director, Goel Ganga Developers, said, “We are in disagreement with the view taken by NGT. We have always carried out construction in all our projects in accordance with law and permission granted to us, and built our reputation on the same.”
The developer in a statement said that in this case the firm obtained environment clearance (EC) in 2008 before starting work and also obtained the revised EC in 2017.
According to the developer, the work going on at the site is as per the permissions received from Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the environmental department.
“NGT while deciding our case has referred to issues like definition of built-up area and implication of carbon footprint. These issues are not pertaining to only our projects but have larger connotations effecting construction projects of the whole country. Hence, on July 7, 2017, the ministry of environment and forest department, government of India had to interfere, clarifying the built-up issue raised in our previous order dated September 27, 2016. We feel the issue of carbon footprint raised in the order dated January 8, 2018, requires clarity in the law and we alone cannot be held responsible for violations due to carbon footprint. We will take recourse to the remedy available in the law and fight the battle initiated by a person who has a one-point agenda of harassing us. We are confident that our plea will be heard by the judiciary and we will come out absolutely clean in the same,” Goel said.