National Green Tribunal halts all plan approvals on wetlands in City

National Green Tribunal halts all plan approvals on wetlands in City

The National Green Tribunal on Thursday halted all approvals given by the government agencies for construction of buildings on wet­lands and catchment areas of water bodies in Bengaluru for three months.

The tribunal principal bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar and its members Justice U D Salvi, D K Agrawal and A R Yousuf, while imposing Rs 139.85 crore fine on two Bengaluru-based realty developers for violating green norms, also ordered that “in three months period, we restrain any government bodies including Union Ministry of Environment and Environment and Forests, Karnataka State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority sanctioning any construction project on wetlands and catchments of the water bodies in the city of Bengaluru.”

The tribunal has formed an expert panel and asked it to submit a detailed report in three months after inspecting the project being developed by Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd and Coremind Software and Services Pvt Ltd near Bellandur and Agara lakes.

The order said: “The committee shall inspect not only the sites where the projects in question are located but even other areas of Bengaluru which the panel in its wisdom may consider appropriate, in order to examine the interconnectivity of lakes and impact of such activities upon the water bodies, with particular reference to lakes.”

“The Committee can submit whether the projects in question have encroached upon or are constructed on the wetlands and Rajakaluves. If so, are there any adverse environmental and ecological impact of these projects on the lake particularly, Bellandur Lake and Agara Lake, as well the Rajakaluves,” said the order.

“The Committee would also recommend what should be the buffer zone around the lake(s) and interconnecting passages and wetlands. The committee shall also report whether activities of multipurpose projects which have serious repercussions on traffic, air pollution, environment and allied subjects should be permitted any further or not, particularly, in wetlands and catchment areas of water bodies,” the order stated.

The committee should make recommendations on the steps and measures that should be taken for restoration of lakes, particularly, in the City of Bengaluru, said the order.
The panel, while inspecting the spots, should also examine whether the construction of the projects is in accordance with the sanctioned drawings and bye-laws.
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