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NGT imposes Rs 113 crore environmental compensation

These agencies were asked to carry out a probe after a Ghaziabad resident had filed a petition in the NGT, alleging the Wave Group flouted environmental norms ranging from groundwater extraction to cutting trees and violated solid waste management (SWM) laws as well.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an environmental compensation of Rs 113.25 crore on the developer of Wave City, a township along NH-9 in Ghaziabad. The developer has been given three months to deposit the fine with the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB).

A three-member NGT bench, headed by chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, passed the order on Tuesday after a report from a joint team of the UPPCB, Central Ground Water Board and forest department officials.

These agencies were asked to carry out a probe after a Ghaziabad resident had filed a petition in the NGT, alleging the Wave Group flouted environmental norms ranging from groundwater extraction to cutting trees and violated solid waste management (SWM) laws as well.

“Applying the principle of computation of environmental compensation… and also considering the gravity of the violations, we find it appropriate to compute environmental compensation at 0.75% of total project cost of proponent,” the NGT ruled.

The environmental compensation imposed on the developer comes to Rs 113.25 crore, said an official. “The NGT also made it clear that the money shall be utilised for rejuvenation and restoration of the environment in the area, as per the recommendations of the joint committee.”

The case dates back to August 2019 when Ghaziabad resident Mahakar Singh had approached the NGT against the developer of Wave City.

The petition prompted the NGT to direct the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Central Ground Water Board, the forest conservator of Ghaziabad and the UPPCB to separately furnish a factual and action taken report to the tribunal within one month.

Over conflicting reports by agencies, the NGT in July 2020 directed a joint committee of the CPCB member secretary, the state-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority, the UPPCB, the Central Ground Water Board and the district magistrate of Ghaziabad to file a report.

The joint committee, in March 2021, tabled a report in which it was said that the damage had been found within the project site for which a fine was imposed on the then project manager of the developer.

With regard to ground water extraction, the committee in its report said that the developer was found to be in violation of conditions of the NOC related to installation of digital flow meters, construction of piezometers and for not maintaining water consumption record during the construction phase of the project.

In addition, eight STPs installed for the treatment of sewage generated from domestic processes were not found in operation while 19 diesel generator (DG) sets had stack height below norms laid down by the UPPCB. There was also no arrangement for disposal of solid waste generated from the township, the team found during an inspection.

The NGT, on the basis of the joint committee’s report, on January 2, 2022, ordered appropriate action against the developer, including imposition of environmental compensation. However, the developer subsequently approached the Supreme Court against the NGT’s order.

However, the apex court later dismissed the developer’s petition. saying that “it will be open to the appellant to file an application before the NGT for interim relief”.

A Wave Group spokesperson told , “It’s a 180-page judgment and our legal team is going through it.”

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