GURUGRAM: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Ansal Buildwell and its sister concerns, Aadharshila Towers Private Ltd and Rigoss Estate Networks Private Ltd, to deposit an interim compensation of Rs 10 crore for violation of norms and environmental damage in .
The amount has to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board within a month. The final compensation, to be assessed within three months, is set to be much higher.
The directions were given in a petition filed in 2016 by Rajendra Kumar Goel and Bala Yadav. The petitioners had alleged that the developer carried out construction on 200 acres of land without obtaining required clearance and did not make available the open/green area as per the plan, thereby causing immense damage to the environment.
The matter has been listed for further consideration on July 11.
Ajay Pandita, a spokesperson for Ansal Buildwell Ltd, told TOI, “We didn’t receive any notice from the NGT to appear for a hearing. We were completely unaware of it. We can make any further comments only after going through the order carefully.”
The order came after the state authorities failed to take any action against the developer even after a report indicating grave environmental violations was submitted by a high-level committee in the NGT about five months ago. “It is surprising that in spite of the report submitted about five months back showing violation of law, no action has so far been taken by the statutory authorities, particularly the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB),” the bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said in its order, which has been seen by TOI.
will be entitled to charge interest at the rate of 12% for any delay and to recover the amount by adopting appropriate coercive measures as per the law, the order further stated, adding that the amount is to be spent for restoration of environment.
The report by the committee, which comprises officials from the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), had found several violations in Sushant Lok III. It had pointed to encroachment in green areas, the lack of recharge system and sewage treatment plant, non-functional rainwater harvesting pits, and non-maintenance of roads, footpaths and parks. It had further said the builders had failed to obtain clearance from HSPCB and a no-objection certificate from Central Ground Water Authority for extracting of groundwater, and flouted norms to install and operate DG sets.
The tribunal has asked the committee to assess the cost of restoration so that the total compensation which the developer will need to pay can be decided. The panel will give its assessment within three months.
The tribunal also instructed HSPCB to take appropriate action, including prosecution, recovery of damages, installation of rainwater harvesting system and closing swimming pools operating illegally.
The green court has directed the builders to also deposit a performance guarantee of Rs 5 crore and comply with the norms within three months. In case of default, the amount will stand forfeited.
“The order finally brings in the central bodies (CPCB and MoEFCC) to ensure compliance of the environmental norms. Earlier, state boards were in charge and they were hand in glove with the developer. Now it should be noted that Rs 10 crore is an interim compensation and actual cost that the developer has to pay to restore the damage is in hundreds of crores,” said advocate Yatish Goel.
Last year, the NGT imposed a fine of Rs 195 crore on Goel Ganga Developers for causing damage with its projects in Pune.
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