SC orders status quo on NGT order quashing EC, demolition of luxury project

New Delhi, Aug 27 (PTI): The Supreme Court has ordered status quo on a National Green Tribunal order quashing the environmental clearance (EC) granted to a high-rise luxury project by Godrej Properties Limited and Wonder Projects Development Private Limited in Bengaluru and directing its immediate demolition.
A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Surya Kant issued notices to the Centre, Karnataka, Bangalore Development Authority, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and others and sought their response in four weeks. “In the meantime, status quo, as it exists today, shall be maintained by the parties,” the bench said.
The direction came on an appeal filed by Godrej Properties Limited and Wonder Projects Development Private Limited challenging the NGT’s July 30 order quashing the EC granted to a high-rise luxury project by them in Bengaluru and directed its immediate demolition.
The green panel had also imposed a penalty of Rs 31 crore on the project proponent and said the amount shall be used for demolition of the constructions, restoration of the area to the original position, rejuvenation and reforestation of the Kaikondarahalli lake and its surrounding area. The NGT had also imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh on Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)which allowed construction/alteration of Storm Water Drain passing through the project site illegally.
The order had come on a petition filed by Bengaluru resident H P Rajanna against the project, Godrej Reflections, being built at Kasavanahalli village in Varthur Hobli in Battleground Urban district.
This was the second time NGT has quashed the EC.
The apex court had earlier set aside the NGT order quashing the environmental clearance granted to the project.
Noting that the construction raised by project proponents commenced even before grant of Consent to Establish by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and in violation of conditions of EC, the NGT had directed that the constructions made on site shall be demolished immediately.
We impose compensation for damage to the environment as 10 per cent of the cost of the project. The cost of the project mentioned in the application submitted for grant of EC was Rs 310 crores, hence project proponent is directed to pay Rs 31 crores, the green panel had said.
The top court had asked the NGT to reconsider the matter and said no construction shall be put up in the meanwhile.
The green panel had ruled that the construction would fall within the buffer zone of the Kaikondrahalli lake and therefore is violative of the zoning laws.

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