The southern zone of National Green Tribuanl (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 8 crore on the city-based KGISL Trust for constructing a multi-storeyed apartment without obtaining environmental clearance.
The firm had in 2010 proposed to construct the 37,000sqft-big building at Keeranatham, an IT hub in Coimbatore. The project titled ‘Platina’ has more than 400 residential units.
It is mandatory for firms to obtain prior environmental clearance (EC) while constructing apartments of this magnitude, according to Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006.
However, KGISL started constructing the flats before obtaining EC, said petitioner V Sankara Subramanian, an environmental activist from Tirunelveli.
The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) too confirmed the violation in its letter to Tamil Nadu Forest Department Secretary in May 2013.
SEIAA further recommended Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to initiate legal action against the firm for the said violation under section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
District Environmental Engineer, Coimbatore North filed a case with the local Judicial Magistrate against B Ashok, managing director of the firm, R Maheswaran, vice president and others.
Meanwhile, the construction was completed and all flats got sold out soon.
KGISL in response argued that the Union Environment Ministry had issued a notification for regularising EIA violation projects and they were following provisions within stipulated deadline mentioned in the notification.
On hearing both the sides, NGT SZ members — Justice K Ramakrishnan and Saibal Dasgupta — directed the firm to deposit the initial penalty amount before Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within two months.
The members also government to form a committee with representatives from pollution control boards and other related government agencies. This joint-committee has been told to submit an inspection report soon.