Arun Excello, the real estate builders in Chennai support the stand of National Green Tribunal. The real estate builders are definitely viewing the advancements taking after the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi on post-facto ecological clearance. The city builders are skeptical about the impact of the order on specific fragments and segments.
After passing the orders, The NGT directed the seven project proponents to deposit the fine amount with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) within three weeks.
The five-member bench headed by the Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said the Office Memoranda dated December 12, 2012, and June 27, 2013, suffered from the infirmity of lack of inherent jurisdiction and authority. “Resultantly, we quash both these Office Memoranda. Consequently, the above Office Memoranda are held to be ineffective and we prohibit the MoEF and the SEIAA in the entire country from giving effect to these Office Memoranda in any manner, whatsoever,” said the order.
Abdul Saleem, Special Government Pleader representing the Tamil Nadu government and the TNPCB, said until further orders of the Tribunal, the project proponents should not go ahead with construction activities, create encumbrance or hand over possession to purchasers. The NGT also pointed out that they should not pass on the burden of the compensation to the customers.
The seven project proponents named in the order are: Y. Pondurai, M/s Ruby Manoharan Property Developers Pvt. Ltd, M/s Jones Foundations Pvt. Ltd, M/s SSM Builders and Promoters, M/s SPR and RG Construction Pvt. Ltd, M/s Dugar Housing Ltd and M/s SAS Realtors Pvt. Ltd.
The Tribunal also formed a committee comprising member secretary, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Tamil Nadu; member secretary, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board; a professor from Department of Civil Engineering, Environmental Branch, IIT-Bombay; MoEF and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority officials. The Member Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board will be the nodal officer. The committee will inspect the respective projects and submit a comprehensive report to the Tribunal within 45 days. This includes preparing a report on illegal and unauthorized activities carried out by the project proponents, ecological and environmental damage due to the projects and if the conditions stated in the plan and permissions granted by various authorities have been strictly complied with or not.
The committee shall also report on the measures and steps, including demolitions, if necessary, to be taken in the interest of saving the environment. According to the Environment Clearance Regulations of 2006 the project or activities involving an area above 20,000 square meters require prior Environmental Clearance (EC) from the Central Government.
Arun Excello points out that as per the Office memorandum issued in 2012 and amended in 2013, in cases where EC has not been obtained prior to commencing work, it can be processed if the project proponent has to give an undertaking that the violation will not be repeated or the state government will have to take legal action on the violation.
After the NGT directive on July 8 the Office Memorandum has been set aside. The NGT has directed inspection by the committee in respect of these 7 projects and for them to make environmental compensation and then proceed further based on specific orders of the tribunal. In respect of all other project proponents of similar violation, now that Office memorandums have been quashed, there is no remedy to regularize the non obtaining of environmental clearance and they will have to seek clarification from the NG.