Ansal group, DTCP fined for breach of green norms in Sushant Lok Phase 1

Updated on Jul 06, 2022 02:16 AM IST
While Ansal API has been asked to pay environmental compensation of 153.53 crore, the DTCP has been asked to deposit 2 crore for environmental violations.
Ansal API was fined for several violations relating to discharge of sewage water, illegal extraction of ground water, and encroachment of green belt in Sushant Lok Phase I. (HT photo)
Ansal API was fined for several violations relating to discharge of sewage water, illegal extraction of ground water, and encroachment of green belt in Sushant Lok Phase I. (HT photo)

The National Green Tribunal on Monday imposed environment compensation of 153.53 crore on real estate developer Ansal API for several violations relating to discharge of sewage water in storm drains, illegal extraction of ground water, encroachment of green belt, and other violations in Sushant Lok Phase I in the city.

The NGT also imposed a similar penalty of 2 crore on the department of town and country planning (DTCP) for failing to curb the rampant violations carried out by the developer in the private licenced colony. The DTCP, however, said that they will challenge the NGT order in court.

A four-member bench of the NGT, headed by justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, on Monday directed that the developer and the DTCP deposit the compensation amount within the next three months with the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).

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The developer was granted licence to develop Sushant Lok Phase 1, which is spread over 602 acres, in 1985 land by the DTCP. More licences were issued in the subsequent years for expansion of the colony, saidYatish Goel, counsel for three petitioners who are residents of the colony.

According to the NGT order, the penalty amount will be utilised for rejuvenation and restoration of environment in the area concerned on the recommendations of a joint committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), HSPCB, the district magistrate and the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram. This committee shall prepare a plan in the next three months and execute it within six months of the date of deposit of compensation.

“TCPD Haryana in a mechanical manner granted licenses without ensuring whether earlier conditions of licenses were complied with by APIL-PP and for years together licenses were issued. However, it did not get the things verified from spot as to whether those conditions were actually followed...,” observed the NGT in its order.

The court also directed that Ansal API shall not create any third party rights in Sushant Lok Phase 1 until and unless environment laws and norms are complied with. The NGT also directed the Sushant Lok residents’ welfare association (RWA) to work with civic agencies and ensure the discharge of sewage meets the standards of Water Act, 1974. The MCG, HSPCB, and the district magistrate of Gurugram were asked to ensure untreated sewage from the colony is not released into the open. The state pollution body was also told to ensure diesel generators do not operate unless provisions of the Air Act are complied with.

The authorities concerned were also directed to ensure that no ground water is extracted through the 39 borewells installed by the developer without permission of the competent authority. The HSPCB was also asked to take steps for criminal prosecution against the developer for violating environment norms.

The case in this matter was filed in 2018, in which the three petitioners said the developer had carried out several environmental violations such as encroachment of green area, release of sewage in storm water drains, and illegal extraction on water. Following the petition, the NGT sought a report from a joint committee of representatives from CBCP, DTCP, and CGWA. In 2019, the developer was asked to stop construction and expansion in the colony.

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According to DTCP norms, the counsel for the petitioner said 45% of the 602-acre colony should have been left for green areas, roads and community facilities but this rule was violated by the developer and layout plan was amended several times to encroach the green area.

“The department of town and country planning should have ensured 45% area meant for green belts, roads and community areas was not encroached... The layout plan was changed repeatedly but the measurement of open and green areas was not carried out,” said Goel, the counsel for the petitioners.

A senior executive of Ansal API said, “This penalty is completely unjustified and we have challenged this order in the Supreme Court. The matter is subjudice and we have complete faith in the judicial system and the law of the land.”

The department of town and country planning, meanwhile, said that they shall challenge the order in court. “We have studied the judgement of NGT and we think that there are many gaps in the order. Under any eventuality, the DTCP cannot be made liable for payment of any compensation. Nothing against law has been done by the department. The order is liable to be challenged in the court,” said Anil Grover, senior additional advocate general, Haryana.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Abhishek Behl is principal correspondent, Hindustan Times in Gurgaon Bureau. He covers infrastructure, planning and civic agencies in the city. He has been covering Gurgaon as correspondent for the last 10 years, and has written extensively on the city.

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