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Mumbai’s real estate projects hit after civic body’s environment cell gets suspended

The cell had the power to give clearances to projects within the range of 5,000 square meters to 1, 50,000 square meters in the city.  

mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2018 12:47 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,mumbai news,real estate
Mumbai…22nd November 2011…News… Bombay Municipal corporation headquarters in Mumbai…HT photo by Hemant Padalkar(Hindustan Times)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) efforts to fast-track construction projects in the city have taken a hit. The environment cell, set up by the BMC in August 2017, has been suspended temporarily by the corporation.

The cell, consisting of six members, had the power to give clearances to projects within the range of 5,000 square meters to 1, 50,000 square meters in the city.

Earlier, the clearances had to be obtained from the Union ministry, which civic officials said was a lengthy process. However, with the powers of the committee withdrawn, the same procedure has to be followed henceforth, a senior civic official said.

According to documents accessed from the Development Plan (DP) department of BMC, between August and January, the cell had received 32 applications, of which recommendations were provided for six projects. Nine projects were on the verge of getting clearances, and rest were pending with the appraisal committee of the cell for recommendations.

The cell was an initiative under the ease of doing business, where the builder would get local clearances from the BMC itself. Apart from granting clearances, the committee consisting of experts was also expected to undertake environment audits and monitor projects in the city.

The cell's powers were suspended owing to a December order from the National Green Tribunal's principal bench in New Delhi, which quashed the central government's 2016 notification for setting up this facility. The bench has stated that there will be conflict of interest if the facility is set up by the local body.

Post the notification, the DP department also sought an opinion from its legal department earlier this month. The legal department's opinion states that only clearances granted before the order on December 8, 2017 can be considered to be valid for now.

A senior civic official said, "The bench has asked the Central government to re-look at the notification, therefore the cell has been suspended for now."

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 12:47 IST