The National Green Tribunal on Friday quashed the environment clearance granted to high-rise luxury projects by Godrej Properties Limited and Wonder Projects Development Private Limited in Bengaluru and issued directions for their immediate demolition.
The NGT bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has directed that constructions made on-site Kaikondarahalli Lake and Kasavanahalli Lake in Bengaluru shall be demolished immediately and state Wetland Authority and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) shall take steps for restoration and rejuvenation of the area as it originally was.
“The construction raised by Private Proprietors (PP) having commenced even before granting of consent to establish by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and in violation of conditions of Environment Clearance (EC), and also looking to the conduct of PP who has continued to contest the matter instead of making an attempt to rejuvenate and restore damage to the environment, we direct that the constructions made on-site shall be demolished immediately. State Wetland Authority and BBMP shall take steps for restoration and rejuvenation of the area as originally it was,” the NGT said and quashed the environment clearance dated January 10, 2018.
“We impose compensation for damage to the environment as 10 per cent of the cost of the project. The cost of the project mentioned in the application submitted for grant of EC was Rs 310 crores, hence PP is directed to pay Rs 31 crores,” the NGT said adding that this amount shall be used for demolition of the constructions as per direction, restoration of the area to the original position, rejuvenation and reforestation etc. of the Kaikondarahalli Lake and its surrounding area.
The NGT said the amount shall be utilised by preparing a restoration plan by the said authority with the assistance of the BBMP, KSPCB and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
It further ordered that restoration plan shall be executed by State Wetland Authority and BBMP which may also be overseen by KSPCB and CPCB.
The NGT also imposed a cost of Rs. 10 lakh upon BBMP which allowed construction/alteration of Storm Water Drain passing through the project site illegally and the said amount paid by BBMP shall be deposited in the Environmental Compensation Fund and utilized for restoration and rejuvenation of the environment.
The said amount shall be deposited by BBMP with the State Wetland Authority within one month and be form part of the same separate account to which compensation paid by PP will be credited.
The NGT said that it intends to place on record that torchbearer for protection of the environment in the last about 40 years is only the judiciary and the executives feel satisfied sometimes by framing laws without being serious about execution and implementation thereof.
“Before parting, we also intend to place on record that torchbearer for protection of the environment in the last about 40 years is only the judiciary,” an NGT bench headed by its Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
The NGT observation came while allowing the appeal and set aside Environmental Clearance dated January 10, 2018, issued by Karnataka State Environment Impact Assessment Authority in favour of M/s Wonder Projects Development Private Limited. The NGT was hearing various pleas pertaining to the issue of ecological damage to the area between two lakes namely Kaikondarahalli Lake and Kasavanahalli Lake in Bengaluru.
The grievance was that Statutory Authorities are not taking care of the protection of the environment and in particular, wetland and its surrounding area, by allowing construction activities and development of residential projects in the wetland area which will damage the said area irreversibly and may result ultimately in the extinction of wetland also.
The NGT was hearing a matter relating to the apprehensive threat to the environment due to the construction activities around wetland area in Bengaluru city, state of Karnataka which is also known as ”City of Gardens” and also had a large number of lakes at some point of time but there is substantial extinction/ disappearance due to encroachment.
Ecological damage to the area between two lakes namely Kaikondarahalli Lake and Kasavanahalli Lake is an issue in these matters.
The grievance is that Statutory Authorities are not taking care of the protection of the environment and in particular, wetland and its surrounding area, by allowing construction activities and development of residential projects in the wetland area which will damage the said area irreversibly and may result ultimately in the extinction of wetland also.
An appeal has been filed by the same person namely H.P. Ranjana complaining about the violation of environmental laws and damage to the environment on account of a project launched by M/s. Wonder Projects Development Private Limited, M/s. Godrej Private Limited, mainly on the ground that the project is abutting to Kaikondarahalli Lake, has violated environment laws including provisions relating to wetlands and Rajakaluves which are passing through or around the proposed project.