HC to look into alleged eco damage by developer of Chandivli township
Mumbai: The Bombay high court is looking into allegations that a 182-acre township coming up in Chandivli has flouted environmental norms. A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla converted a PIL filed by a resident of the township into a suo motu petition.
The court was hearing a plea by developer Nahar Builders, which is constructing Amrit Shakti Township, that petitioner Prakash Agrawal should not have filed the PIL as he was a resident in one of the buildings at the township.
The bench agreed that Agrawal had personal interest in the matter and therefore could not pursue the PIL. But it declined the plea that the petition should not be entertained at all. It said it would appoint an amicus curiae (friend of court) to assist the bench on the next date of hearing, scheduled for August 31.
“In fact, after having perused the averments and prayers made in this PIL, we find that several issues are required to be gone into in the case of such a huge project. The issue of absence of environ- Bombay High Court mental clearance will also have to be gone into,” said the judges.
“We are of the view that though the petitioner may not have locus, this PIL will have to be considered on merits. Considering the huge nature of the project… several issues concerning the environment will have to be gone into,” the high court judges said.
Amrit Shakti Township is spread on an area that is the equivalent of eight Oval Maidans. The PIL, filed earlier this year, had alleged that between 2004 and 2017, the developer made constructions without environmental clearance and social impact assessment. The petition claimed a hillock in the area had been cut, reducing its size from 18.5 acres to 7.4 acres. The petitioner had urged the court to direct the developer to provide a recreation ground, amenity spaces, Development Plan roads, and solid waste management and sewage treatment plants. The petition sought the restoration of the hillock as well as a carbon sequestration study.
“Though the issue of absence of environmental clearance is agitated before the National Green Tribunal, still, this court can consider the said issue, which goes to the root of the matter,” said the high court judges.