June 3, 2016 4:46:42 am
Construction work along the banks of Vishwamitri in Vadodara continued unabated Thursday despite an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stay all such activities with immediate effect.
The NGT order, dated May 25 and released on June 1, came on a petition moved by green activist Rohit Prajapati, who questioned the “illegal activity of the Government instrumentality i.e. Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC)”, contending that it was “proceeding with a project damaging river and its tributaries”.
On Thursday, Prajapati said, “We will serve a legal notice to the VMC on Monday if they do not stop the construction activities despite the stay order by the NGT. The order should be immediately implemented once the stay order is imposed, but I am surprised that the VMC has not followed the order and construction activity is still on.”
Prajapati said that according to the environment laws, one can not start any activity when environmental clearance (EC) is pending. “But the VMC has violated this mandatory step and they have accepted that they still have to obtain EC before the NGT. That is one positive sign (about the petition’s fate).”
On Thursday, construction activities — mostly real estate projects — continued on the banks of Vishwamitri in Bhimnath Bridge, Kalaghoda Bridge, Sama Talav, Vemali-Sama, Vadsar Bridge, Sanjay Nagar, and Akota Dandia Bazar Bridge areas. Senior VMC officials remained unavailable for comment.
NGT order stated: “On perusal of records. It is seen that the photographs show that the Respondent No.6 (VMC) is proceeding with construction activity in blatant violation of the Environment(Protection) Act, 1986 and the notification issued there under particularly notification in 1994/2006. It commenced construction activity more than a year ago without obtaining prior EC and has continued such illegal activities. It is also admitted that they have applied for EC only after starting construction, which show their conduct of defiance to mandatory law requiring EC… in view clear photographs which show that its construction activity is virtually destroying River Vishwamitri and its tributaries.”
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