Tribunal stops housing project lacking environmental clearance

SHIMLA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 3.2 crore and ordered that work on the Rs32.48 crore doctors residential colony in Panthaghati be stopped for failing to obtain the mandatory environmental clearance.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 25

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 3.2 crore and ordered that work on the Rs32.48 crore doctors residential colony in Panthaghati be stopped for failing to obtain the mandatory environmental clearance.

The green tribunal, in its order on October 22, also directed the State Supervisory and Implementation Committee, constituted on its earlier order, to file a compliance report in the matter within a month’s time. The matter has now been listed for January 21, 2019. According to the judgment (a copy of which is with The Tribune), the NGT’s Principal bench, headed by its Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, passed the order in connection with the Vidya Shandil versus the state case. The NGT also observed that there was no report of the supervisory committee constituted by it in the Yogendra Mohan Sengupta case.

It ruled that the housing society should deposit 10 per cent of the project as penalty, which would be shared in the 75:25 ratio by the State Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Board . “The project can be continued only after further orders are passed by the tribunal on being satisfied that remedial measures have been taken for the protection of environment,” the court observed. The complainant, Shandil, had expressed apprehension that the construction of the colony being made by Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) Doctors Cooperative Society Limited was posing a threat to her house due to the debris and discharge in the drains from the construction activity.

She challenged the environmental clearance given to the project on October 15, 2016, by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to Dr Shyam Lal Kaushik, chairman, IGMC Doctors’ Cooperative Housing Society Limited.

She cited a notification dated September 14, 2006, under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, item no. 8(a) of the Schedule that “requires a project pertaining to building and construction in excess of the 20,000 sq m to obtain prior environmental clearance”.

The project has a built-up area of 21057.931 sq m and its cost is Rs 32.48 crore. It was approved by the Shimla Municipal Corporation on February 6, 2010, and over 100 flats have already been built.

The tribunal observed that the housing project applied for such clearance only on December 16, 2015. “Massive construction has been raised, resulting in a huge impact on environment on account of effluents discharge, construction of road, traffic congestion, solid-waste generation and slope instability. Such an impact is required to be studied,” the court ordered.

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