Chennai: Ten days after the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a fine of Rs 76.19 crore on seven leading builders in Tamil Nadu for not obtaining environment clearance, the five-member committee which was appointed by the tribunal to submit a report on ecological and environmental damage caused within 45 days, is yet to take shape.
The post of member-secretary of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), who is directed to be the nodal officer of the committee, is lying vacant. State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), whose member-secretary is also a member of the NGT panel, has expired its term at present. Also, NGT has directed ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEF & CC) to nominate a representative within 3 days from the date of judgment, but so far the ministry has not taken any action, government sources told Deccan Chronicle.
This has left builders high and dry with their projects stalled and unsure of how long it would take for the panel to be formed and submission of its report. When contacted, special government pleader Abdul Saleem, who represents the state government and TNPCB in the case, acknowledged that the committee may not be able to adhere to the 45-day deadline.
“I have already briefed the NGT, New Delhi, about the current situation. The NGT has directed the state government to suggest two names for representation in the committee. The government has already finalised the names, which will be putforth before the tribunal next week. I also spoke to member secretary of CMDA A. Karthik, who agreed to nominate the chief planner as its committee member”, he said.
The government counsel also said steps had been initiated to constitute a new SEIAA. A proposal had been sent to the Centre. The state government had suggested a nine-member SEIAA committee, but the Centre had recommended for a 12-member committee. Shortly, the new SEIAA will come into effect, he said.
Meanwhile, reliable sources said opinion was split among builders. A few are likely to move the NGT itself seeking extension and others are in favour of challenging the NGT order in the Supreme Court. As per the NGT order, the builders should pay the fine within three weeks....