For realty, centre coming with strict environmental regime

From ET Realty

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it would soon notify a stringent green regime for the construction industry, proposing a stiff penalty for those executing housing projects without prior environmental clearance.

The ‘polluter pays’ principle, as enumerated by the apex court in several judgments, would be strictly applied to the construction industry, additional solicitor general Neeraj Kishan Kaul told a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice R Banumathi.

Kaul said the draft notification had been sent to the law ministry for vetting, and would be enforced once the procedures, including public hearing, were completed. He said the notification would stick to the earlier norm of mandatory prior environmental clearance for housing projects.

“Those who commence construction without prior environmental clearance will be assessed by an expert group to be set up under the notification. After assessing the environmental damage caused by the developers, the group will impose stiff penalty. The penalty will be in addition to criminal prosecution where the violations are grave in nature,” Kaul added.

The court was dealing with a group of developers who were found by National Green Tribunal (NGT) to have violated the environmental clearance norm. NGT had quashed two office memorandums, issued by the UPA government in 2012 and 2013, allowing developers to construct without prior green clearance.

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