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State orders action against Kandivli builder, civic officials

Investigations reveal that built-up area of towers was more than 20,000 sq mts and required green nod.

mumbai Updated: May 25, 2012 01:34 IST
Dharmendra Jore
Dharmendra Jore
Hindustan Times

The state is going to take legal action against Veena Developers, which built two towers called Veena Saaz in Kandivli (East) without any environment clearance. Even the civic body officials who gave the builder a commencement certificate despite the violations will be hauled up.

The state environment secretary Valsa Nair Singh issued the order on April 24 directing the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to nail the builder and asking BMC commissioner to discipline the officials behind this.

Hindustan Times had reported about the violations in March last year.

The developers, also known as Nikunj Developers, did not apply for environment clearance when they started the project saying that the built-up area of the project was less than 20,000 square meters, the cut-off for a green nod. But the builders applied for clearance in January 2010 after the two towers were almost ready and one had an occupation certificate from the civic body. The state stalled work on the towers and later gave it a green nod in 2011, but maintained that the builder would have to face action for violating norms.

"The environment clearance does not give immunity to the project proponent (developer) if any action is initiated (against him) under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986," states the order.

Earlier, a society resident, Ravi Punjabi, who lives in Videocon Towers which is on the same plot, had moved the Bombay high court about the violations. While the court dismissed the petition, it directed the state environment department to examine the irregularity.

The state's recent order is based on these investigations, which found that the total built-up area of the two buildings was more than 20,000 square metres and required environmental clearance.

Punjabi said that residents would move Bombay high court again because of several other issues. "There is no clarity on the parking lots to be allotted to us. About 351 parking lots are required for the layout but the civic body has approved only 199 slots. We fear that the mandatory green area will be used for creating additional parking and the builder will allow unauthorised possession of unoccupied flats," said Punjabi.

While MPCB member secretary, Milind Mhaiskar, said that he was looking into the matter, civic commissioner Sitaram Kunte did not respond to our calls and text messages.

Nair Singh refused to comment. The office of the developer promised to get back to us but did not do so.

First Published: May 25, 2012 01:34 IST