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HC rejects pleas to halt construction of solid waste management plant

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday rejected a slew of petitions,filed by private developers and other individuals

Written by Express News Service | Allahabad |
August 31, 2011 1:58:52 am

Ansal Properties,Crossings Infrastructure penalised Rs 10 lakh each; court says Dundahera project is of public importance

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday rejected a slew of petitions,filed by private developers and other individuals,seeking to stop construction of a solid waste management plant (SWMP) in Dundahera village of Ghaziabad. The court criticised them for delaying the project by five years.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs 10 lakh each on two major petitioners,Ansal Properties Infrastructure Limited and Crossings Infrastructure Private Limited,besides asking them to bear the escalated cost of the project. The fine will have to be deposited by the petitioners to the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC).

The court held that the project was of public importance and the petitioners had been misleading it by filing frivolous petitions.

The court also cancelled the notification for acquisition of 34 acres of land in Dundahera (within which the 14 acres for the SWMP was also shown as included) on the grounds that it was done at the behest of private developers in connivance with the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) to change the land use of the village in the Master Plan of Ghaziabad-2021.

The SWMP was proposed to be constructed as part of a central government policy,subsequent to a Supreme Court order of 1996,in which it was said that all cities having air bases should have better disposal of garbage to avoid problems of careless disposal of garbage,which leads to bird hits.

The site in Dundahera was to cater to the Hindon airbase and other surrounding areas in scientifically disposing of garbage and work had begun in 2005.

The petitioners,who had been allotted land by the GDA for constructing integrated townships,had tried to convince the court that the plot of 14 acres,where the proposed SWMP was supposed to be constructed,was marked for “residential” purposes and not for SWMP. The court rejected their contention after going through the facts and records placed before it.

Passing the order,a division bench of Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice K N Pandey said the petitioners had gained unfair advantage by invoking the jurisdiction of the courts,which had passed various interim orders earlier.

“They misled the court in believing that the construction of the SWMP was against public interest,’’ the court noted.

It said that even after the land use was changed,they managed to get the land (proposed for the SWMP) included in their detailed project report and lay-out plan,as if the land belonging to Nagar Nigam was transferred to them.

Further,the court noted that the Ansal Properties even sold the land to other persons creating third party interests.

“The filing of the repeated writ petitions beginning from March 2006,in which interim orders were passed by this court,delayed the construction of SWMP for more than five years and on which about 50 per cent of the total grants of Rs 12.76 crore was utilised. We thus find it appropriate to direct M/S APIL and Crossing Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd to bear the escalated cost of the project,” the court said.

The GMC will set up a committee to calculate the additional costs of the project post-escalation. “By any conservative estimate,the escalation would not be less than 20 per cent of the original cost of the project. We,therefore,direct M/s APIL and Crossing Infrastructure Pvt. Limited to deposit Rs 1 crore each with Nagar Nigam,Ghaziabad to be spent by it in the increased cost of the project,” the court said,adding that if the cost exceeded Rs 2 crore,then the two companies would share the increased costs.

The petitioners also tried to convince the court that an alternative site for the SWMP was ear-marked near Dasna jail.

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