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SC orders Goel Ganga Developers to pay Rs 100 crore fine on NGT’s Sinhagad road ruling

The order also stated that Goel Ganga shall not be permitted to raise construction of two buildings having 454 tenements and shall only be permitted to complete construction of a total of 807 flats, 117 shops/offices and cultural centre, including club house. 

pune Updated: Aug 11, 2018 15:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,goel ganga developers
Goel Ganga will also pay Rs 5 crore as levied by the National green tribunal in its order dated September 27, 2016, the SC ruling stated. (HT File Photo)

The Supreme Court, in an order on Friday, lowered a Rs 195-crore fine issued to the Pune-based Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt Ltd, by the National green tribunal (NGT) for causing environmental damage at its Ganga Bhagyodaya, Amrut Ganga and Ganga Towers projects on Sinhagad road.

The two-member bench comprising Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta, in their order stated that Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt. Ltd will now pay a fine of Rs 100 crore, or 10 per cent of the project cost, whichever is higher.

The order also stated that Goel Ganga shall not be permitted to raise construction of two buildings having 454 tenements and shall only be permitted to complete construction of a total of 807 flats, 117 shops/offices and cultural centre, including club house.

In addition, Goel Ganga will also pay Rs 5 crore as levied by the National green tribunal in its order dated September 27, 2016, the SC ruling stated.

A statement released by Atul Goel, managing director, Goel Ganga Developers (I) Pvt. Ltd said,“We are in receipt of a copy of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 8th August 2018, and after reading the same, we feel vindicated on the points we had raised in the appeal such as the review petition order by NGT dated January 8, 2018, was clearly erroneous, the issue as regards carbon footprint does not find place in any statute books and the NGT clearly misdirected itself for the purpose of levying the damages.

“We also feel vindicated that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has refused the prayer of demolition made by the original applicant,Gambire and has also categorically observed that the original application filed by Mr Gambire is not a public interest litigation and therefore, his claim of special damages is specifically refused. Further,Gambire made allegations against various officers of PMC and Environment Department and the Hon’ble Court has categorically refused to go into such allegations as such officers were not party to the proceedings before NGT or Hon’ble Supreme Court.”

Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt. Ltd has been granted six months to deposit the amount of damages imposed.The order states that in case the project proponent does not deposit the amount within six months, then all assets of Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt. Ltd.as well as its directors shall be attached and the amount of damages shall be recovered by sale of those assets.

The orderfurther directed that in case this amount is not deposited within the period of six months then the licence/registration/permission granted to Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt Ltd to develop any “real estate project within the meaning of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 shall be cancelled and “Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt. Ltd. and its directors shall not be granted permission to develop any “real estate project” under theReal Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 without permission of this Court”.

Tanaji Balasaheb Gambhire had, in 2015, filed an application before the National green tribunal (NGT), claiming that Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt Ltd, had raised a construction in violation of the environmental clearance granted for the project and also in violation of the various municipal laws.

The NGT in its order dated September 27, 2016, had stated that the respondent shall pay environmental compensation cost of Rs 195 crore or five per cent of the total cost of project to be assessed by State level expert appraisal committee (SEAC), whichever is less for restoration and restitution of environment damages and degradation caused by the Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt. Ltd., by carrying out the construction activities without the necessary prior environmental clearance within a period of one month.

In addition to this, it shall also pay a sum of Rs 5 crore for contravening mandatory provision of several environmental laws in carrying out the construction activities in addition to and exceeding limit of the available environment clearance and for not obtaining the consent from the board.

Following the NGT order, Goel Ganga builder filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. The developer added that theymay decide to file a review application based on the advice of their lawyers.

First Published: Aug 11, 2018 15:13 IST