CREDAI opposes NGT order on Bengaluru buffer zones

After nearly four months of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) judgement imposing a new buffer zone of 75 m for lakes and wetlands, which will be a no-construction zone, the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India’s (CREDAI), national chapter, has opposed the tribunal order, stating that it does not have jurisdiction to act upon it.

The NGT had slapped penalties of Rs 17 crore on Mantri Techzone and Rs 13.5 crore on Coremind Software and Services (Salarpuria company) for building in and around the Agara and Bellandur lakes in Bengaluru. As the matter was still pending before the Supreme Court, CREDAI was critical of the NGT as it seemed to have had “usurped the powers of legislature”.

Irfan Razack, national chairman of CREDAI, said: “It is to be noted that only legislature has to determine the land use, buffer, etc., and not the tribunal. In our opinion, the powers of the NGT cannot extend to amending buffer specified in master plans prepared by the state legislature and the tribunal seems to have usurped the powers of the legislature.”

Razack pointed out that the NGT order, while deciding two specific cases of developers, has also issued certain general directions to increase the distance of buffer zones for lakes and rajakaluves (storm water drains) to the state government and local authorities, and that too with retrospective effect.

The buffer zones for primary, secondary and tertiary drains were fixed at 50 m, 25 m and 15 m, respectively, measured from the centre of the drains, as per the revised master plan of 2015.

According to Razack, the NGT had not only moved the earlier reference point from the centre of the drain to the edge of the drain, but had also increased the buffer for lakes from 30 m to 75 m. “It is reiterated that the scientifically fixed buffer [zone]… has been changed by a stroke of the pen in a sweeping order by the NGT. The ramifications of the NGT order would be catastrophic. Practically all buildings in Bengaluru have to be demolished,” he said.

credits Bangalore Mirror

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