NGT directs housing project in Mohali to stop construction activity for lack of EC

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed a housing project in Punjab’s Mohali to stop construction activity noting that it lacked the requisite environmental clearance (EC). The green panel said that commencement of a project without EC has detrimental effect on the environment.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel noted that the EC granted by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Punjab for ‘Super Mega Mixed Use Integrated Industrial Park’ at Sector 82, 83 and 66A, SAS Nagar, Mohali does not cover the Falcon View Project.

“Contention to the contrary is against the facts on record and has to be rejected. Inspite of repeated directions of SEIAA and initiation of prosecution, the appellant has continued the constructions in utter disregard and defiance of the statutory norms and directions,” the bench said.

The NGT said in the plea that a writ petition filed against the order of SEIAA cannot in any manner justify continuing illegal constructions in violation of law for which there is no sanction in any of the orders of the High Court.

“The appellant is trying to create irreversible situation by completing the constructions and creating third party rights which is not congenial to the enforcement of rule of law and protection of environment and public health,” it said.

The tribunal said there is no merit in the contention that the EC issue being within the purview of SEIAA, the state pollution control board cannot go into such question.

The NGT observed that apart from initiating prosecution, stopping illegal construction activities, undertaking mitigation/restoration measures and other steps for enforcement of rule of law, it may be necessary to assess the extent of damage to the environment and to recover compensation on ‘Polluter Pays’ principle, following due process of law.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Janta Land Promoters Ltd against order dated passed by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) directing stopping of construction activity of the appellants.

It was held that the appellant did not have the requisite EC under the EIA Notification and the Consent To Establish (CTE) under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (Air and Water Acts).

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