Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding violation of environmental norms for the project of Wave City at Ghaziabad and High-Tech City at NOIDA, 06/01/2022

  • 06/01/2022

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Mahakar Singh Vs State of Uttar Pradesh dated 06/01/2022. Issue for consideration is the remedial action against illegal cutting of trees, extraction of groundwater and construction without Environmental Clearance (EC) for the project of Wave City at Ghaziabad and High-Tech City at NOIDA by the project proponent (PP) M/s Uppal Chadha Hi Tech Developers Pvt. Ltd.

The matter was considered by the NGT in the last two years and the court had passed orders with respect to it.

From the report of the statutory regulators, the Tribunal found that there was a serious violation of environmental norms. There was illegal extraction of groundwater in ‘over-exploited’ area to the detriment of the environment. The statutory regulators failed to take adequate and effective remedial measures.

The project covered 4494.31 acres area for construction of 20280 total units. There was illegal cutting of trees and illegal construction without requisite E.C. Accordingly, the Tribunal directed the joint Committee of CPCB, Member Secretary, SEIAA, UP, State PCB, CGWA and District Magistrate, Ghaziabad to take remedial measures in the matter and file its compliance report. The report filed by the Joint Committee found that the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) had failed to take necessary action even after deficiencies had come to their notice.

The matter was last considered, July 14, 2020 in the light of the affidavit filed by the CGWA, February 27, 2020 to the effect that groundwater had been illegally used by M/s. Uppal Chadha Hi Tech Developers Pvt. Ltd. (Water Hi Tech Township) for construction purposes in overexploited areas where groundwater can be allowed to be extracted only for drinking and domestic purposes.

The Tribunal found that no proper verification had been done nor remedial action taken for illegal extraction of groundwater. Consent to Establish (CTE) was granted by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, March 10, 2011; EC was granted July 31, 2014 and NOC from CGWA was granted, May 17, 2019 for extraction of groundwater of 38772 m3 /day or14151780 m3/year (permitted 31 existing bore wells and 14 proposed bore wells). The Consent to Operate (CTO) dated March 17, 2020 was for a built-up area of 1,49,292 Sq.m. Before consent to operate and other permissions, construction started in January 2016 itself and built-up area 6,87,059 Sq.m has been constructed, in excess of permitted area of construction. The groundwater has also been extracted during construction even for the period prior to the grant of NOC, though the area is ‘over-exploited’ in terms of groundwater. Further, the joint committee constituted by the NGT has failed to follow the directions of the Supreme Court on the aspect of assessment of appropriate compensation and gone by norms laid down by some authority contrary to norms laid down by the SC which would encourage violations and not act as deterrent, the NGT said.

The NGT directed the statutory regulators to take further remedial action in accordance with law. Remedial action would include appropriate amount or compensation and restoration plan, utilising the amount of compensation recovered and stopping/removing of illegal construction.