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Mumbai- Lack of open space now green violation

MUMBAI: In an order that has left urban planners delighted and builders anxious, t he National Green Tribunal (NGT) has now ruled that the lack of open spaces as well as parking spaces in constructions will be considered green violations. The order has stated these violations can be challenged even in the NGT.

Widening its own ambit, the NGT has now pulled up a city builder for not providing adequate open spaces, as well as parking spaces, according to planning norms, and asked it to cough up a fine of Rs3.3 crore for failing to do so.

Advocate Aditya Pratap, who pleaded for the petitioners Sunil Kumar Chugh and Ravinder Kumar Khosla, against a city builder, Priyali Builders, regarding a slum rehabilitation scheme in Sion, said the order will be a boost for urban planning. “It gives people the right to approach the tribunal if they see violations in the construction of recreation grounds, parking spaces and fire safety, which is a major victory,” said Pratap.

While it reiterates urban planning nor ms, builders said the September 1 order could also cause confusion. A 2006 MoEF notification on the environment impact assessment had said all projects with a ‘built-up area’ of more than 20,000 sqm will require a green nod.

area under Floor Space Index (FSI) was to be counted while calculating the built-up area.

In its order, the NGT said the 2011 Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) notification clarified that all major real estate projects above 20,000 sqm built-up area will require an environmental clearance.

Dismissing Priyali Builders’ contention, the NGT said both, the FSI areas as well as freeof-FSI areas like balconies and ducts, were to be counted while deciding on a project’s builtup area.

The 2011 order, the NGT said, must be followed with retrospective effect since 2006, the time of the original MoEF order. It is this aspect that city builders fear will cause panic in the city. According to them, many projects exploited the ‘confusion’ regarding the 2006 and 2011 MoEF notifications and went ahead without getting a green nod.

“Many of t hese projects may have been completed and people may be l iving there. It is not clear whether the residents will have to pay the fines,” said Sunil Mantri, president, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).

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