The National Green Tribunal has ruled that environmental clearance for the new Assembly building in Ranchi should be granted by the Union ministry of environment and forest.
The tribunal bench comprising Justice S.P. Wangdi (judicial member) and Satyawan Singh Garbyal (expert member) in its ruling on September 23 has stated that the Assembly building project was brought before the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) after the construction work had already started and should therefore be treated as a case of violation.
In such cases, even projects that are granted environmental clearance by the SEIAA shall be appraised by an expert committee set up by the environment and forest ministry and environmental clearance will be granted at the central level.
“In the event, the cases are taken up as violation cases, which in our considered opinion do arise in the present case, the project proponent shall be liable to pay environmental compensation duly assessed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the damages caused to the environment. This shall be apart from the other remedial measures that shall be taken for restitution of the damages,” the order, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, states.
The NGT has scheduled the next date of hearing on January 6, 2020.
The state building construction department had paid a fine of Rs 5.26 crore to the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) and got an environmental clearance from the SEIAA in September this year.
Delhi-based environmentalist R. K Singh, who had filed an application in NGT on the violation of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification (2006) in the construction of new Assembly building, said: “The recent NGT directive will make the state building construction department liable to pay environmental compensation duly assessed by the CPCB and also seek environment clearance from the Union ministry.”
Significantly, in his application before the NGT, Singh had claimed that the new Assembly building across 57,200 square metres in Dhurwa was constructed without obtaining environmental clearance in violation of EIA Notification, 2006, that categorically states that all building and construction projects with a built-up area of 20,000 square metres must obtain a “prior environmental clearance” from the state SEIAA before starting construction.
The new Assembly building constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 465 crore was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 12.