Chandigarh: Another commercial complex runs into green nod trouble
The notice by Chandigarh administration lists out violations, such as changing/enhancing of scope of work than what was mentioned in the clearance granted in 2015
Berkeley Square, a prominent commercial complex in Industrial Area, has run into a controversy with the Chandigarh administration that has threatened withdrawal of environmental clearance (EC) over alleged violation of norms.
Constructed on around 5 acres in Phase 1, the complex is owned by RSA Motors, a firm promoted by Ranjeev Dahuja.
As per firm’s own statement in the Punjab and Haryana high court, over 50 business houses are running their offices from the multi-tower complex with 400-500 employees. Environmental clearance for the complex was granted in 2015.
In 2017, M/s Berkeley Realtech Limited was renamed as RSA Motors.
Berkeley Square is the second business unit to run into environmental clearance trouble in recent times. Earlier, Hindustan Times had reported about Godrej Eternia project, another commercial complex in the same area, which has been slapped with show-cause notice over alleged violation of environmental norms.
The show-cause notice issued to Ranjeev Dahuja on July 20, says, “Non-compliance of violation conditions of environmental clearance (EC) granted to your project has been observed by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Chandigarh.”
The notice lists out violations, such as changing/enhancing of scope of work than what was mentioned in the clearance granted in 2015.
It says additions have been made in the form of a restaurant, service station, paint booth and another diesel generator set of 320 KVA capacity on the premises of the existing unit.
It mentions that EC was subject to obtaining prior clearance from forestry and wildlife angle, including from standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife, as applicable before starting the operation of the project.
It underlines that EC was granted for commercial project, comprising offices and retail, and it should have been obtained again in case scope of work had changed.
The notice had given Dahuja 15 days to respond why EC should not be withdrawn or put in abeyance.
RSA Motors had approached the high court on August 8, seeking quashing of the July 20 notice, while stating that the area where the firm was operating did not fall within the purview of eco-sensitive zone (ESZ).
It was also argued that the issue, whether the petitioner was required to attain any prior clearance or not, was examined and disposed of by National Green Tribunal, Delhi, after it found that the area of operation was not under ESZ.
“The petitioner is on a plot located in the industrial belt of the city and the administration in their wisdom had allocated the area for conducting industrial and other institutional activities after examining the limits of ESZ and restrictions imposed…The respondents cannot be permitted to frustrate the very object of grant of CLU by imposing restrictions with respect to wildlife clearance on an area which is situated in earmarked industrial belt,” RSA Motors had argued in the plea.
However, UT’s senior standing counsel Anil Mehta informed court that proceedings were pending before SEIAA and no final decision had been taken.
On August 17, the high court decided not to take cognisance of the plea and permitted the firm to withdraw the plea, appear before SEIAA and raise objections there.