Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding setting up of commercial towers, Haryana, 24/11/2020
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Gurinder Singh & Others Vs Union of India & Others dated 24/11/2020.
A factual and action taken report was sought from the Member Secretary, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and the Member Secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board with reference to the allegation of illegalities in the project of setting up of commercial towers with built up area of more than 12 lakhs sqm. It was alleged that the activity started in May, 2016 while environmental clearance was given in May, 2018. There was violation of conditions of environment as no clearance was taken from the National Board of Wild Life (NBWL). Further violation alleged was with regard to setting up of sewage treatment plant (STP) by way of ultrafiltration and in respect of non-use of construction material like fly ash, brick, hollow bricks, flyash lime gypsum blocks.
The matter was thereafter considered on February 6, 2020 in the light of the report of the State PCB and the SEIAA filed on December 7, 2019, acknowledging that the construction was in progress without requisite EC and clearance from NBWL.
Accordingly, the NGT directed remedial action by way of stopping the illegal construction and recovery of compensation. A further report was filed on June 12, 2020 mentioning that the Project Proponent has been directed to get the violation assessed and on account of that further action has still not been taken.
The bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Sheo Kumar Singh expressed surprise at the stand taken by the state authorities. "A law violator is being asked to make assessment which is against any sensible norm. Once it is acknowledged that there is violation of law, instead of taking remedial action, the law violator is sought to be made judge is his own cause", the NGT said.
The Court directed the authorities to withdraw such directions and to make assessment in exercise of their statutory functions, with the assistance of such expert or organization as may be considered necessary. Further action must be taken expeditiously as already a period of nine months has gone on account of lack of responsible action.