The National Green Tribunal has taken exception to South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s levy of fine on “minor” nature of construction violation and directed it to crack the whip on commercial builders.
The green panel expressed displeasure on the penalty imposed on constructions being carried out on smaller plots rather than initiating action against big players in the real estate sector.
“Have you (SDMC) challaned a single builder for violation of construction norms? Have you caught hold of single commercial builder in South Delhi,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The observation came during hearing of a case related to air pollution in which it had last year issued notices to various persons to show cause why environmental compensation of Rs 50,000 not be imposed upon them for causing pollution.
When the noticees appeared before the bench, they challenged the notices being issued to them and sought inspection report from SDMC.
However, the counsel appearing for the SDMC submitted that the officers have physically inspected the sites and thereafter issued notices to the owner of the houses.
Taking note of submissions, the tribunal directed the SDMC lawyer to instruct the officer concerned to be present with complete records of the inspection and the violation found by them on the next date of hearing.
It also ordered municipal corporations to maintain a separate account of environmental compensation paid under the orders of the tribunal and restrained the civic bodies from spending it without its permission.
During the hearing, the NGT also reduced the fine amount on violators depending on the size of plots of the owners.
“We have heard the noticees who are present. The general plea being raised before the tribunal is that most of the noticees have owned properties less than 100 square yard and even less than 50 square yard and they have not committed any violation. We see that the violation committed is of a very minor nature. They have kept their construction materials within their premises.
“On the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the considered view that the amount of environmental compensation could be reduced in all these cases. Therefore, we direct that the person/noticees whose houses are built or were being under repair, on a plot area of 50 square yard or less, would be liable to pay environmental compensation of only Rs 5000 each,” the bench said.
( Source – PTI )