National Green Tribunal seals four Chennai housing projects

The district superintendent of police concerned is directed to ensure no further construction is carried out by project proponents
Chennai: In a major jolt to Tamil Nadu builders, National Green Tribunal (NGT) – New Delhi has issued directions to seal four major construction projects, located in and around Chennai, after they were found culpable of violating the court’s stay order granted last month.
Officials of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) were instructed to immediately seal the four ‘near completion’ buildings developed by leading construction firms like M/s Jones Foundations Pvt Ltd, M/s Dugar Housing Ltd, Mr Y. Pondurai and M/s SPR and RG Construction Pvt Ltd.
The district superintendent of police concerned is directed to ensure no further construction is carried out by project proponents. Of the four, one project is commercial which is the new Saravana stores building coming-up in Padi built by Mr Pondurai. The other three are residential projects, whose combined stock piles up to around 2,000 apartments.
The chairman bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar made this aggressive move after it was peeved by glancing through the photographs submitted by petitioner Muthuraman’s counsel showing continuing construction work despite the prohibitory orders. In the case of M/s Dugar Homes, two floors have reportedly been constructed. However, the counsel appearing for the project proponents disputed these averments.
Delivering a landmark judgment on July 7, the Delhi court quashed two Office Memorandums (OMs) of the environment ministry that it found to be in violation of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, according to which obtaining environment clearance is a mandatory before commencement of the project.
The seven TN builders, who tried to implead in the case, attracted the wrath of the court instantly and their projects were labelled unauthorised. The court also imposed Rs 76.192 crore penalty. Special Government Pleader Mr Abdul Saleem, who appeared on behalf of TNPCB, CMDA and NGT committee, confirmed to DC over the phone that the projects of four builders would be sealed with immediate effect and court has instructed the authorities to inspect the other three projects also and will be sealed, if they too found to have violated the prohibitory orders.
The top green bench also warned that the seven builders, who have not paid the penalty of Rs 76.192 crore imposed by the tribunal, would bear the consequences thereof in accordance with law.
One of the applicants M/s SSM Builders and Promoters mentioned in the review petition that their part payment of Rs 7.2 crores out of total Rs 36 crores environment compensation imposed by the tribunal was not accepted by TNPCB. In reply, the court has asked the TNPCB to accept the part payment.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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