National Green Tribunal (NGT) retracted the environmental clearance of two luxury projects by Godrej Properties Limited and Wonder Projects Development Private Limited in Bengaluru and ordered their immediate demolition according to a report by ANI.
This order has been released because of the violation of environmental clearance rules on Kaikondarahalli Lake and its surrounding area.
The Justice Bench headed by Adarsh Kumar Goel has ordered the constructions made on-site Kaikondarahalli Lake and Kasavanahalli Lake in Bengaluru to be demolished immediately.
Moreover, the state Wetland Authority and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have to take the responsibility of rejuvenating the area to its original position.
The NGT said while retracting the environmental clearance of January 10, 2018, “The construction raised by Private Proprietors (PP) having commenced even before granting of consent to establish by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and in violation of conditions of Environment Clearance (EC), and also looking to the conduct of PP who has continued to contest the matter instead of making an attempt to rejuvenate and restore damage to the environment, we direct that the constructions made on-site shall be demolished immediately.
State Wetland Authority and BBMP shall take steps for restoration and rejuvenation of the area as originally it was.”
The Green Panel imposed a fine of ₹31 crores on the project advocate. The bench added that this money will be utilized for the purpose of demolition and restoring the place back to its natural self which would require rejuvenation and reforestation of the Kaikondarahalli lake and its surrounding area, reported The Hindu.
“We impose compensation for damage to the environment as 10 percent of the cost of the project. The cost of the project mentioned in the application submitted for grant of EC was ₹310 crores, hence PP is directed to pay ₹31 crores,” the bench said.
A fine of Rs 10 lakh has also been imposed on the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike for permitting construction/alteration of Storm Water Drain passing through the project site illegally.
This money would be deposited to the Environmental Compensation Fund and would be utilized for the protection of the environment.
The Tribunal said that the fine would be put to use by preparing a proper restoration plan. It would be given a structure by BBMP, KSPCB, and Central Pollution Control Board.
The plan would be executed by the State Wetland Authority and BBMP which is also overseen by KSPCB and CPCB.
The restoration plan is instructed to be prepared within two months and is to be executed within one year. The NGT also made it clear that if any amount remains at disposal after the execution of the plan, it would be utilized for the beautification of the affected lakes.
“If the amount is found to be deficient, the deficiency will be made up by BBMP. If any question remains unresolved, but in the authorities, the National Wetland Authority is directed to resolve the same,” the bench added.
The tribunal also called out on the officials of the Environment Ministry who had granted this permission and because of whom the project advocate could go on with the required confidence to continue the project.
“It appears that in a concerted way, some officials have acted to somehow justify patent illegality and bold defiance of law on the part of the project proponents.
Clearly, there is an evident lack of bona fide on the part of the officials and this conduct deserves to be strongly condemned.
We will request Secretary, MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forest) to look into the matter and take appropriate action against such erring officials,” added the bench.