NGT Orders Uttar Pradesh Aawas & Vikas Parishad And 3 Private Realtors To Pay Rs 50 Crore Compensation For Environmental Violations
The National Green Tribunal has imposed a fine of Rs 50 Crore on four housing projects in Ghaziabad for violating environmental norms.
The allegations were raised against project proponents (PPs) - Uttar Pradesh Aawas & Vikas Parishad (UPAVP), M/s Prateek Realtors India Pvt. Ltd. (Prateek), M/s Apex Heights Pvt. Limited (Apex) and M/s Gaur & Sons India Pvt. Limited (Gaur) in developing construction projects at Ghaziabad, U.P. Main violations alleged were inadequacy of plantations and sewage treatment plants resulting in continuing damage to environment and public health.
“On consideration of rival versions and reports of joint Committee, we find that there are violations which need to be remedied and accountability needs to be fixed on polluter pays principles and amount of compensation needs to be duly utilised for restoration of environment.”, said NGT bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Dr. A. Senthil Vel, Expert Member.
While looking at the violations made by each project proponent, the bench noted-
“UPAVP constructed and sold 1844 EWS homes - 1376 homes are under Kanshi Ram Scheme and 1292 homes in Ganga, Yamuna and Hindon Apartments Scheme. None of the said schemes have captive STPs and sewage is being carried by trunk sewer line and disposed of in open areas. Sewer line laid by UPAVP is not connected to terminal STP which is still under construction. This is resulting in water logging”
“In respect of Prateek, though the report mentioned that STPs have been set up by them and are operational at the time of inspection in January, 2023, it has not been mentioned as to whether at that time of occupation by the inhabitants, STPs were in operation. Occupation, as per report, was in Feb/June, 2021, as noted in the report. Area of the project is 1.54 lac sq meters with 3008 units. Green belt does not cover the area in terms of EC”
“With regard to Gaur, the project has been operationalized without requisite CTO and completion certificate. Possession has been given and 550 families are residing. STP was found non-operational which is in violation of EC conditions. Green belt is not in terms of EC”
“With regard to Apex, STPs have been set up by them and are operational at the time of inspection in January, 2023, it has not beenmentioned as to whether at that time of occupation by the inhabitants, STPs were in operation. Occupation, as per report, was in February, 2021 without completion certificate due to failure to construct LIG/EWS houses, as required.”
The bench observed that cost of restoring damage to the environment by violations by the remaining three projects is estimated at minimum of Rs. 10 crores each, having regard to the fact that the projects are big in size with turnover of more than Rs.500 crore each.
Thus the NGT directed “…total estimated cost of restoration of Rs. 50 crores be deposited with the State PCB to be utilised for restoration of environment as per action plan to be prepared by CPCB, State PCB and District Magistrate with association of concerned stakeholders including the PPs. Restoration measures may be in the direction to upgrade solid waste management systems, including reuse of treated water.”
Cause Title- Sanjeev Kumar Applicant v. Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board & Ors