The environment ministry on Sunday declared the scam tainted Adarsh Housing complex in Colaba “illegal” and told the Maharashtra govenment to demolish unauthorised part of the structure. As HT had reported first on January 13, environment minister Jairam Ramesh declared the entire building as illegal and ordered its demolition.
“Adarsh society has violated the very spirit of CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) Notification, 1991 by not even acknowleding the need for clearance under this notification… Ignorance of law an never be an excuse for non-compliance,” Ramesh said in a statement.
As a result, the ministry has asked Adarsh Society to demolish the entire structure and restore the site to its original position.
The society was accused of violating norms in connivanace with top government officials for the housing complex initially conceived for martyrs of Kargil War heroes.
If the society now fails to demolish the 31 storey complex, the Maharashtra government will have to do it.
The environment and CRZ division of the ministry has found Adarsh Housing Society guilty of two violations. First, that the society failed to seek CRZ clearance as directed by
Environment ministry in its letter of March 2003. Second, the floor space index (FSI) of the building was higher than stipulated in the CRZ regulations.
Admitting that it had not taken the ministry’s approval, the society said it was not required as CRZ regulations were applicable only for industrial projects requiring water front and offshore facilities.
The ministry has citied the CRZ notification of 1997 which delegated the power to approve residential projects in coastal areas to the state governments.
“One has to read the 1997 order in relation to the parent notification of 1991,” an official explained.
Subsequently in 2003, the 1997 order was cancelled after alleged misuse of the delegated powers.
Both the ministry and Maharashtra government is of the view that the claim of Adarsh society that it had received a no-objection certificate from the ministry in 2003 was “totally wrong”.
It was a letter allowing change in land use and not for allowing construction, a ministry official said and added that obtaining approval under CRZ from Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority was a must.
The society has also said that the show-cause notice was based solely on the allegations and recommendations of the National Coastal Zone Management Authority, arrived at because of statements made by the secretary, urban development and the secretary, revenue department of Maharashtra government, is misplaced. Read full story from the publisher