The Adarsh housing society does not have any clearance from the Central environment ministry,and the construction of the building is therefore illegal,the director of the ministry told the Adarsh commission looking into the controversy on Thursday.
The statement has brought the issue of environmental violations in the society to prominence,barely two weeks after the issue of ownership of the land reached a degree of closure with the commissions report holding that it belongs to the state government.
There was no clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for development of the plot of the Adarsh society at any time. Therefore,in the absence of such clearance,the construction of the building is illegal, A Senthil Vel,the present MoEF director,told the two-member panel. Vel also deposed about the legality of transferring Floor Space Index (FSI) from the adjoining BEST plot to the society. If the original plot has already consumed the FSI of the very plot as existing on 19/2/1991 (the date of issuing the then Coastal Regulation Zone notification),no further FSI of any other plot can be utilised or loaded, Vel said,during questioning by the senior counsel for the commission Dipan Merchant.
Vels claim could run contrary to a statement made in this regard by Subodh Kumar,who till recently was the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner. Kumar had told the commission that such transfer of FSI is possible if the two plots in question are amalgamated.
During his deposition on Wednesday,Vel noted that a letter sent by him to the state government cannot be construed as an NOC from the CRZ point of view. The letter,sent to the deputy secretary to the state urban development department,had said that construction on the project should be taken up as per the prevailing CRZ norms.
He had also told the panel on Wednesday that neither the society nor the state government had made any application for CRZ clearance to the ministry.