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Gurugram civic body issues notice to Google India over removal of green belt

Google India spokesperson, denied any responsibility for the removal of green belt and said that they were occupying the building on the basis of a lease and that the work mentioned was being carried out by Unitech Builders.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 28, 2018 12:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Google India,Google India office in Gurugram,Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority
A portion of the green belt in front of Google India’s office was removed and a road built in its place. (Yogesh Kumar/HT Photo)

The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) on Wednesday issued a notice to Google India asking why a portion of the green belt was removed in front of their office and a road built in its place without necessary permission. The notice issued by advisor, GMDA, environment division, said that a road had been built ‘in a surreptitious manner without necessary permissions.’

The company spokesperson, however, denied any responsibility for the violations and said that they were occupying the building on the basis of a lease. “The work mentioned is carried out by Unitech Builders. Hence, we don’t know why the notice was sent to us,” Gaurav Bhaskar, senior manager, Global Communications and Public Affairs, Google India said.

The company has an office in Sector 15, Part 2 and its access to Delhi-Gurugram Expressway is through a road that enters the service lane.

The swathe of green has been cut apparently to get direct access to the service road of the highway for which the permission has to be taken from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

GMDA, when informed about the role of the developer, said they will wait for the reply to their notice.

“We have given them 24 hours. So, if it is some other party which is responsible, let them say so in their reply,” Rajbir Singh, advisor, urban environment, Environment Division, GMDA, said.

The notice by GMDA said that the work was done ‘in a covert manner’ and that various provisions under the ‘Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Area Rules, the Punjab Land Preservation Act and applicable provisions of the Indian Penal Code’ have been violated. It was addressed to Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director of the search engine giant in India.

The notice directed the firm to ‘remove all structures’ made by them in the mentioned area and ‘restore status quo within 12 hours’, failing which the authorities will themselves do so. “You are also directed to show cause within 24 hours why civil/criminal proceedings should not be initiated against you and your company for violation of the laws of the land,” the notice stated.

“In order to provide a smooth entry and exit of vehicles in to the complex, to avoid congestion on the highway caused by queuing, Unitech, which is the developer of the complex, started construction of a 9m wide and 20m long access road patch from NH8 to the complex through the green belt. Such construction was started only after taking due approvals for the same from NHAI vide their approval letter dated 13/12/2017 and HUDA vide their letter dated 23/01/2018. Day before yesterday GMDA officials instructed us to stop the work and we immediately complied with their instructions. Google is a Lessee in this complex and has no role in this regard,” a statement released by Unitech said.

First Published: Jun 28, 2018 11:52 IST