Green nod must for realty projects
The National Green Tribunal has shelved Delhi Development Authority‘s new building bylaws which exempt realty projects from undergoing environment impact assessment (EIA).
In a detailed judgment dated December 8, published on Wednesday, NGT also stayed the Union environment ministry’s notification of December 9 which exempted real-estate projects (up to 1,50,000 sq m built-up area) in the country from undergoing EIA and obtaining environmental clearance (EC).
Aimed at ease of doing business, the ministry’s notification had entrusted the monitoring of environment parameters of realty projects to urban local bodies which also sanction these projects.
DDA was the first agency in the country to incorporate the new guidelines in the environment ministry’s December 9 notification, even before the final notification was issued.
The environment ministry in its notification had also said that “consent to establish” and “consent to operate” under the provisions of the Air Act 1981 and the Water Act 1974 will not be required anymore from the state pollution control boards for large building projects.
The notification was challenged by a group of petitioners in NGT on various grounds, including the reason for exemption being “ease of doing responsible business”.
They said ease of doing business cannot be a ground for exempting the application of environmental law. RTI responses had earlier cited a letter from then urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu to former environment minister Prakash Javadekar in which Naidu wrote that integrating environmental clearances with the permission to construct buildings was a “landmark step in ease of doing business.”