NGT At Work: Ban On Construction In Delhi-NCR Lifted; 10 Faridabad Builders Penalised Over Dysfunctional Sewage Treatment Plants
Here is a snapshot of the decisions taken by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on November 17 and November 16:
Ban on construction in Delhi-NCR revoked
The NGT on November 17 lifted its ban on construction activities in the Delhi-NCR and allowed trucks to enter the national capital, while asking
authorities to strictly monitor their movement. The green panel, however, refused to lift its ban on industrial activities causing pollution in the Delhi-National Capital Region. The tribunal also directed the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to submit their action plan on steps taken to curb pollution within two weeks.
Meanwhile, all construction banned in 'green' Himachal
The green court has banned all types of construction, residential or commercial, in any part of the "green, forest and core areas" of Himachal Pradesh, and within three metres of the national highways.
The tribunal rapped the Himachal Pradesh government for permitting indiscriminate construction, and said it had failed to discharge its Constitutional obligations. It was this failure that had exposed picturesque Shimla to natural and man-made disasters, it said.
"If such unplanned and indiscriminate development is permitted, there will be irreparable loss and damage to the environment, ecology and natural resources on the one hand and inevitable disaster on the other," the Bench said.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar restrained the Himachal Pradesh government and its departments from cutting hills and forests without prior submission of application for sanctioning of plans for construction.
If any person is found to be damaging forest area or cutting hills without grant of permission of the authorities concerned, the individual would be liable to pay environmental compensation not less than Rs 5 lakh for each violation.
It also reiterated its earlier order, banning use of plastic bags in Shimla, and asked the authorities to ensure that no such material is "used, stored and sold" by the shopkeepers.
On new constructions, it said: "Beyond the core, green/forest area and the areas falling under the authorities of the Shimla Planning Area, construction may be permitted strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act, Development Plan and the Municipal laws in force. Even in these areas, construction will not be permitted beyond two storeys plus attic floor."
"However, if any construction, particularly public utilities (buildings like hospitals, schools and offices of essential services but would definitely not include commercial, private builders and any such allied buildings) is proposed beyond two storeys, plus attic floor, the plans for approval or obtaining NOC shall be submitted to the authorities concerned," the Bench said.
On old residential structures existing in the forest area, the green panel said that if these were found to be unfit for human habitation, the implementation committee, constituted by the NGT, might allow construction, but, strictly within the legally permissible structural limits of the old building.
The tribunal appointed a "high powered expert committee", which would be responsible for carrying out the directions of the judgement and provide no objection certificate to the stakeholders, including the state and private parties.
There should be no regularisation of unauthorised constructions within the forest areas which have been raised without obtaining any prior permission, the tribunal said. It held that rain-water harvesting system should be a mandatory requirement for all the building plans and even the old buildings must be provided with such system within three months.
10 Faridabad builders penalised over dysfunctional sewage treatment plants
The green panel has directed 10 developers in the Faridabad district of Haryana to submit bank guarantee of Rs 50 lakh each within three days over dysfunctional sewage treatment plants (STPs). Any failure in depositing the amount would lead to freezing of the bank accounts of these builders.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also restrained these developers from withdrawing money from their bank accounts in the meanwhile.
It asked the developers to upgrade their STPs and then approach the Haryana Pollution Control Board for inspection. The tribunal ordered that no builder would be allowed to dump sewage in the open, and strict action would be taken against the violators.
"Only after taking permission from the NGT would the accounts of the builders be de-freezed," the tribunal said while coming down heavily on the builders.
The 10 builders include Omaxe Heights Faridabad and Summer Palms in Sector 86, SRS Residency and BPTP Villas in Sector 88, ERA Redwood Residency in Sector 78, SRS Royal Hills Sector 87, Puri VIP Floors in Sector 81, BPTP L Block and BPTP Elite floors in Sector 84 and Era Divine Court in Sector 76.
The green panel also imposed an environment compensation of Rs 55 lakh on ERA Redwood Residency payable within one week for not obtaining consent to operate for its STP. It also slapped environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh each on Omaxe (Sector 86 project), SRS and BPTP over faulty STPs.
The matter is listed for next hearing on November 17.
And, educational institutions in Delhi told to install rainwater harvesting system in 2 months
The green tribunal has directed all Delhi government and private schools as well as colleges to install rainwater harvesting systems in their premises within two months at their own cost. A NGT has said that any institution that fails to install the rainwater harvesting system within the stipulated period would be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh.
A committee constituted by the NGT will inspect the premises and grant permission to institutions for operating the system.
If it is not possible to install a rainwater harvesting system, the institution should approach the committee within a week from November 16. The committee will then inspect the premises.
"Upon inspection, if it feels that there is no possibility of setting up such system, the panel may issue exemption certificate," the NGT said.
Exempt institution will have to pay an environment compensation, which will be used for setting up rainwater harvesting systems in nearby areas, including parks.
The green panel also directed the director of the Delhi education department and the Delhi Jal Board to issue notices to all such schools and colleges within three days from today.
With inputs from Housing News