Maharashtra Developers To Pay 2% Fee For Building In Green Zone
In a bid to control rampant construction in and around eco-sensitive zones in Maharashtra, the National Board for Wildlife (NBW) has restored the two per cent fee of the project cost it had earlier planned to levy on real estate developers constructing in such areas. The decision will impact at least 13 projects near the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the Tungareshwar Sanctuary.
In February, Maharashtra’s wildlife board had decided to bring down this fee to one per cent of the project cost and make this payment in installments. While the wildlife conservation society has made the statement that the decision to reduce the compensation amount was taken as the areas around the national park and the sanctuary were already developed.
Currently, any project with a construction area of more than 20,000 sq meter requires environment clearance to ensure it is not harming any ecologically-sensitive region and assess the project’s overall impact on air, water and density. Another clearance is required from the NBW if the activity involves use or alteration of any part of a protected area, which includes construction activities to be done within a 10-km radius from its boundaries or within the sensitive zone.
However, according to the data available with IndiaSpend, a non-profit news website, over 519 developmental projects have been cleared by the NBW in the past four years, posing a threat to the wild areas. The overall loss of wildlife habitat across the country is 24,329 acre – and area twice the size of Chandigarh. This represents only the actual land diverted. Such projects impact a far larger area by blasting, construction, an influx of labour and ancillary development such as roads, settlements, etc.