Builder fined Rs 10 crore for lack of green nod to Sector 59 project
Moreover, the developer has been accused of trading in land that was initially earmarked for public use and green belts. About 90 acres of the 199 acres were reserved for community use, according to the Revised Layout Plan sanctioned by the DTP.Updated: Mar 29, 2019 08:14 IST
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday ordered developer Ansal Buildwell and its sister concern, Aadharshilla Towers, to pay a penalty of Rs 10 crore to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for violating environmental norms in Sushant Lok 3.
Monday’s order comes in response to a petition filed by Bala Yadav, a Sushant Lok 3 resident, in 2016. Ensuing legal proceedings revealed the residential colony, spread across 199 acres in Sector 59, lacks the required environmental clearances.
Moreover, the developer has been accused of trading in land that was initially earmarked for public use and green belts. About 90 acres of the 199 acres were reserved for community use, according to the Revised Layout Plan sanctioned by the DTP. However, only about 30 acres have been left for this purpose. “In many locations, community land has been encroached on to build transformer stations, commercial establishments, cabins for security guards and others,” said Yatish Kumar Goel, advocate for the complainant.
These violations have been acknowledged by at least two committees instated by the green court, in 2017 and 2018. They also include lack of “consent to establish” and “consent to operate” permissions granted to real estate projects by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) under the Air Act and the Water Act.
A three-judge bench, headed by NGT chairman Adarsh Kumar Goel, observed, “Groundwater was being extracted (without required clearances). There was no STP for sewage treatment… Rainwater harvesting system was not maintained as per Haryana Building Code, 2017, and groundwater recharge was not being done as required. There was no effective system of collection of solid waste. There was no compliance of C&D Waste Rules. Diesel generators are operating without adequate stack height.”
Ajay Pandita, a spokesperson for Ansal Buildwell, said, “I have not yet seen a copy of the order and will not be able to comment until I read it carefully.” Pandita did not clarify whether the interim compensation of Rs 10 crore would be submitted to the CPCB as directed.
The NGT bench also came down heavily on the HSPCB for not taking preventive and punitive measures against the developer in light of these violations. “It is surprising that in spite of the report submitted about five months back showing violation of law, no action has so far been taken by the statutory authorities, particularly the Haryana State Pollution Control Board,” stated Monday’s order.
The court has also directed the HSPCB to remedy its inaction and submit a report of the same within three months. Kuldeep Singh, regional officer (Gurugram), HSPCB, said, “We sent the developer showcause notices in November after receiving the inquiry committee’s report, and their responses to us were not satisfactory. We then replied asking for a list of responsible persons and partners so that we could proceed with filing a suit in the environmental court in Faridabad, but the project proponent have not yet provided us with these details.”
Ansal Buildwell has also been instructed to deposit an additional ₹5 crore as a “performance guarantee”, with the understanding that the project will “comply with the statutory norms within three months”. Failing this, this amount will be forfeited by the developer.
The matter is set to be heard next in July.
Similar environmental violations were earlier noted in Sushant Lok 1, which was developed by Ansal API — a separate company no longer associated with Ansal Buildwell. In December, the NGT concluded that the developer was in violation of various green norms, such as proceeding with construction without environmental clearances, illegal extraction of groundwater, dysfunctional rainwater harvesting infrastructure, mismanagement of construction and demolition waste and poor management and disposal of sewage. That matter was disposed of by the NGT in January, which recommended closure of the project and directed a CPCB-led panel to take appropriate action and file an action-taken report by April.
First Published: Mar 29, 2019 03:23 IST