SC ban on Maharashtra construction: A result of between 2 state departments?

SC ban on Maharashtra construction: A result of between 2 state departments?

mumbai Updated: Sep 02, 2018 09:42 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Supreme Court consturction ban,Maharashtra realty,Maharashtra construction ban
The construction ban is likely to hit Mumbai, one of the biggest real estate markets in India and the timely delivery of housing projects.(HT File)

In an embarrassment to the Maharashtra government, lack of coordination between two state departments led to a blanket ban on construction across the state, along with a ₹3-lakh fine.

The Supreme Court on Friday banned construction activities in Maharashtra and two other states and Union Territories (UTs), until a policy under the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules, 2016, is framed by them. The ban has now restricted any new launch of projects and ongoing construction of buildings in the state, industry experts said.

The ban is likely to hit Mumbai, one of the biggest real estate markets in India and the timely delivery of housing projects. It is also a double whammy for the city as it had faced a similar ban on new construction projects after a high court order in 2016. The ban on new projects was lifted in March 2018 by the SC for six months.

Meanwhile, state officials maintain the Maharashtra government has a policy in place for solid waste management. Then what was it that led to the ban in the state? According to a senior urban development department (UDD) official there was a “misunderstanding” over which department — UDD or the environment department — would file the affidavit in the SC informing the court about the existing policy. “It was a misunderstanding between departments on whether UDD or the environment department would file the affidavit. Because of this, the affidavit could not be filed in time. We have a policy in place; all the detailed project reports are ready,” said the official, requesting anonymity.

The state government has now decided to intervene in the matter next week, ahead of the hearing on October 9, to file its affidavit, apologise to the court and get the ban lifted. “We will apologise to the SC for the delay and file the affidavit, listing out our entire plan. We will request the SC to lift the ban.” Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis convened a meeting of senior officials on Saturday and directed them to resolve the issue immediately. A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said the state will request the SC to lift the ban at the earliest.

MPCB forms panel for enforcing rules

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board constituted a technical advisory committee on Saturday.

The five-member committee — consisting of two retired municipal officers, the regional officer of MPCB Mumbai Nandkumar Gurav, deputy municipal commissioner of Pune Suresh Jagtap, and retired IAS officer Shyam Wardhane as chairman — has been formed for two years to ensure SWM Rules 2016 is implemented across Maharashtra, assist MPCB on technical issues, and help civic bodies. “It is observed that segregation of municipal solid waste at source or at house level is not practiced by local bodies. Partial waste segregation practices observed in few cities. The door-to-door collection of waste is not practiced in most cities. Most cities don’t practice covered transportation of waste,” read the notice. It said 27 civic bodies and 235 municipal councils generate 21,950 metric tonnes of waste every day.

Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) refrained from commenting on the issue. “As the BMC was not a party to the case, I cannot comment. Unless we get the order officially, we would not know how it will impact development,’’ said civic chief Ajoy Mehta.

A senior official from the SWM department said, “BMC has been keeping a track of where debris are dumped. Developers have to upload data online, which shows us from where debris are picked and where they are dumped. The dumping sites are located outside the city.’’

First Published: Sep 02, 2018 01:28 IST