The National Green Tribunal Wednesday directed a committee to file a report regarding illegal cutting of trees, violation of Environmental Clearance (EC) conditions and illegal extraction of the groundwater by a real estate developer in Ghaziabad and Noida.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the order after taking note that the committee formed to report the violations has not been able to make an assessment of the environmental compensation on the ground that data is awaited from the realty developer. It also noted the committee's submission that it would make the assessment within two months of receiving the data.
"We find that the approach adopted by the Committee in deferring the matter till the project proponent gives data to be unsound. If the project proponent is avoiding giving data, there should be no difficulty in drawing adverse inference based on 'best judgement assessment', based on inferences from the circumstances."
"Indicative scale of compensation already stands approved by this Tribunal on the basis of expert Committee report. We also find that with regard to illegal cutting of trees the Forest Department has merely imposed some fine," the bench said.
The tribunal had formed a joint committee comprising officials from the Central Pollution Control Board, Member Secretary, State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority, UP, state pollution control board, Central Ground Water Authority and Ghaziabad District Magistrate.
The tribunal said that neither prosecution has been initiated, as required, nor adequate compensation recovered on the principle of restitution, based on value of the ecological services forgone forever.
"Accordingly, we direct the joint Committee, in coordination with any other expert/institution to take/recommend further remedial action. The statutory authorities may exercise their jurisdiction in the matter to comply with the rule of law and file a compliance report before the next date by e-mail," the bench said. The matter is posted for further consideration on September 23.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by UP resident Mahakar Singh alleging illegal cutting of trees, extraction of groundwater and construction without the EC for the project of Wave City at Ghaziabad and High Tech City at NOIDA by real estate developers. The total project area of Uppal Chadha Hi Tech Developers Pvt Ltd (Wave Hi-Tech Township) is covered 4,494.31 acres in three phases.
"The first phase of project area having an area 1,671 acres, comprised of sector 1 to 7, which is covered only in Ghaziabad district. The second phase having a project area of 2,333 acres, in which about 80 per cent area is covered in Gautam Budh Nagar district and rest of the area in Ghaziabad district.
"The third phase having an area 490. 31 acres covers almost equally in Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar districts. As per information provided by the project proponent, total no of proposed units is 20,280, total units constructed as on March 15, 2021 is 5,777, Total units handed over to the customers 1,150, occupancy is 912," the committee told the NGT.