January 21, 2009 1:03:33 am
As many as 98 builders and industrialists in Haryana have been fined by the Environment Courts for failing to abide by environmental and administrative standards.
Having applied for environmental clearance,many builders began construction on their projects without official approval of their applications. Sources in the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) indicate that fines ranging between Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh have been imposed and that the majority of the offenders were levied maximum penalty. Most of the cases were in the National Capital Region (NCR),they added.
Earlier,the HSPCB had served notices to 154 builders for similar violations.
Secretary (Forest) P K Gupta told Newsline that projects costing more than Rs 50 crore or spanning more than 20,000 square metres are required to apply for environmental clearance to the recently set up Haryana State Environmental Impact
Assessment Authority (HSEIAA) Pollution Control Board.
In December 2008 alone,the Board had lodged 74 cases at the special Environment Courts in Faridabad and Kurukshetra under the Environment Protection Act,with convictions carrying a maximum five-year prison sentence or Rs 1 lakh fine.
Since their inception,the courts have ruled on 15,795 cases under the Water Act,Air Act,Environment Act and Indian Forest Act and Wildlife Conservation Act. Sources said Rs 55 lakh have been earmarked for the courts operational costs over 2008-09.
The HSPCB also served 120 notices to private developers and builders in Faridabad and Gurgaon. The notices had reportedly been served on the instructions of Kiran Choudhry,Minister of state for Forest,Environment and Tourism,who objected to the blatant violations of environmental norms in the state.
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