60% of realty projects in Mumbai are exempt from green nod

The Union environment ministry issued a notification last week exempting projects up to 50,000sqm from requiring its nod

mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2018 15:54 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,real estate projects,green nod
The BMC’s development plan department estimates that more than 60% of the city’s projects fall below 50,000sqm.(HT File Photo)

More than 60% of the city’s realty projects will benefit from the environment ministry’s recent draft notification to ease green norms for building constructions. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) issued a notification last week exempting realty projects up to 50,000sqm from a prior environment nod.

The BMC’s Development Plan department estimated that more than 60% of the city’s projects fall below 50,000sqm. Although these realtors will have to comply with environment conditions by submitting a self-declaration certificate, they will not have to queue up for a more tedious two-tier green approval process from the state. So far, projects between 20,000 sqm to 1.50 lakh sqm had to get a go-ahead from the state’s environment appraisal committee — and then a final state-level impact assessment committee.

By avoiding this process, the projects can shave off delays of up to one to two years to get the green clearance.

A senior official from the Development Plan department said, “Of the several realty projects we receive for building approvals, more than 60% of the projects fall under the exempted category. There isn’t much space in the city for huge realty projects. However, all projects up to 50,000 sqm will have to submit their compliance certificate to the building proposal departments of local authorities.”

The BMC had set up an environment cell to grant clearances for projects between 20,000sqm to 1.50,000 sqm after the Centre issued a notification in 2016 asking civic bodies to set up such cells.

In July last year, the Union environment ministry issued a notification giving powers to civic bodies in Konkan and Pune to grant a green nod. This included all realty projects in Mumbai and Pune besides their metropolitan regions. However, the cell could not clear any projects and had to be suspended in August 2017 itself after an order from the National Green Tribunal’s principal bench in New Delhi quashed the central government’s 2016 notification for setting up this facility. The bench had stated that there will be conflict of interest, if such a facility is set up by the local body.

Following this order, MOEFCC issued a draft notification last week in a bid to promote their flagship Housing for All initiative. Now, the local body will have to ensure that the exempted projects are adhering to environment norms. The environment conditions, which are to be fulfilled by the developers include water conservation, rainwater harvesting, ground water recharge, waste management, energy efficient systems, maintaining green cover, air quality and noise norms. The BMC officials said norms will be enforced by the civic body. The ministry’s notification has been put up for suggestions and objections for the next 60 days after which the final order will be issued.

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 15:54 IST