Life in Gurgaon

NGT orders probe against builder for flouting green norms in Gurugram

Source: Hindustan Times

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The National Green Tribunal has ordered a probe into the dealings of real estate developer Ansal Buildwell Ltd and its sister concern, Aadhaarshila Towers Pvt Ltd, for allegedly violating environmental law and town planning norms in Sushant Lok 2 and 3.

The NGT’s order, dated August 1, a copy of which was obtained by the Hindustan Times on Wednesday, came in response to two separate petitions filed by Rajendra Kumar and Bala Yadav, residents of Sushant Lok 3 and 2, respectively. Yatish Kumar Goel, advocate for both petitioners, said, “My clients decided to approach the NGT after observing that the builder was violating laws while going about its development activities in the area.”

The first of the two petitions was filed by Kumar in 2016.

The NGT had, on November 11, 2016, issued directives to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), the State of Haryana, District Town and Country Planning Department, and the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram to determine the nature and extent of violations described in Kumar’s petition. A committee was formed and reports were submitted before the tribunal in February 2017.

The NGT observed that there were four borewells operating in Sushant Lok 3 without the permission of the Central Groundwater Authority. However, the builder claimed to have obtained the required permissions. The probe also found that two fire hydrants were not in a working condition.

In addition, the probe revealed rampant encroachment of common use land in Sushant Lok 3. Around 90 acres of 200 were reserved for community use, according to the Revised Layout Plan sanctioned by the DTP.

However, only around 30 acres had allegedly been left out for this purpose. In many locations, community land had allegedly been encroached on to build transformer stations, commercial establishments, cabins for security guards and other purposes.

On October 9, 2017, the Department of Town and Country Planning submitted an Action Taken Report that it had removed some of the encroachments.

However, according to Kumar, “These actions were not sufficient. It was just an eyewash.”

After a second petition regarding similar violations in Sushant Lok 3 was filed in 2017 by Bala Yadav, the NGT has now ordered that a detailed inspection report be prepared by a four member committee, which will consist of a director level officer of MoEFF, a member secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board, a district magistrate concerned and a representative of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board. The officials concerned have been given until October 1 to carry out their inspection on the site.

The representative of the MoEFF has been put in charge of preparing the report, which will be presented at the next hearing in March, 2019.

Rajendra Kumar, one of the petitioners, said the NGT’s order was welcome. “The earlier probe did not achieve much, but we hope that this time the authorties will take the the NGT’s directives seriously. Else, we will have no option but to approach the Supreme Court.”

Ajay Pandita, a spokesperson for Ansal Buildwell Ltd, said, “We have adhered to all the norms and laws. We are operating 22 borewells in the area after taking all the necessary permissions. As far as encroachments are concerned, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that they are removed.”