News Karnataka
Thursday, February 09 2023
Bengaluru

Real estate developers, fined Rs 140 cr for green norm violations

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Bengaluru: Amid the ongoing demolition drive to remove encroachments on the lake beds of Bengaluru, builders and developers have been served another whammy. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday imposed Rs 139.85 crore fine on two City-based realtors for executing projects in violation of environmental norms near Bellandur and Agara lakes.

The NGT principal bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar found prima facie evidence and ordered that “Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd is liable and shall pay a sum of Rs 117.35 crore, while CoreMind Software and Services Pvt Ltd shall pay a sum of Rs 22.5 crore, which is 5 per cent of the project cost, as penalty.”

The judgment was delivered after hearing petitions filed by several citizen welfare groups from Koramangala, HSR Layout and Bellandur in Bengaluru. While asking the tribunal to immediately halt the project work and order its demolition, the petitioners stated that the project has encroached upon 2.61 acres on two storm water drains, besides ecologically sensitive wetland and catchment area of Agara and Bellandur lakes.

The firms have to pay the fine within two weeks from Thursday to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the amount should be kept by the KSPCB in a separate account. The petitioners stated that Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd (formerly Manipal ETA Pvt Ltd) and Core Mind Software and Services Pvt Ltd, is developing massive commercial projects, including Special Economic Zone (SEZ), hotels, residential apartments and mall, spread across 80 acres land immediately abutting the Agara Lake and more particularly identified as lying between Agara and Bellandur Lakes in violation of all environmental norms.

“The amount should be spent for environmental and ecological restoration and other measures to be taken to rectify the damage resulting from default and non–compliance of law by the project proponent in that area, after taking approval of the tribunal,” stated the order.

While refusing to pass an order to stop the construction or order demolition at this stage, the tribunal has constituted an expert committee to inspect the projects and submit a report to it as well as the Union Ministry of Environment within three months.

“The committee, while studying any adverse environmental and ecological impact of these projects on the lakes, also will suggest whether any part of the project is required to be demolished. If so, details thereof along with reasons,” the order added.

Till the submission of the report, the tribunal restrained the firms from creating any third-party interests or part with the possession of the property in question or any part thereof, in favour of any person.

 

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