Apex court declines to stay NGT order on lake buffer zone

Apex court declines to stay NGT order  on lake buffer zone
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that increased the buffer zone around lakes in Bengaluru from 30 metres to 75 metres. The NGT order means no construction can be carried out in the extended buffer zone around lakes.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur admitted the appeals filed by a group of builders against the NGT’s order of May 4, 2016, and tagged them with similar ones against the tribunal’s decision.

The court had earlier stayed an NGT order that imposed a penalty of Rs 117 crore on Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd and Rs 13.5 crore on Core Mind Software and Services Pvt Ltd for encroaching on water bodies in Bengaluru. But it had refused to interfere in the tribunal’s other directions.

On Thursday, senior advocate P V Shetty, appearing for the builders, urged the court to stay the NGT judgment. He contended that the order should not be extended to the petitioners who had bought the land and planned construction before the NGT ruling.

Senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi, representing the NGO Forward Foundation and others, opposed the petition for staying the NGT ruling. He argued that the tribunal had passed general directions that were essential for sustainable development. A group of landowners around Lingadheeranahalli lake in Bengaluru said the NGT ruling had changed the real estate landscape in the city as the 30-metre buffer zone as mentioned in the Revised Master Plan 2015 was increased to 75 metres.

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