The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an interim penalty of Rs 22.5 crore on six builders in Haryana's Sonipat area for violation of environmental norms, saying the transgressions are of serious nature and the compensation "must have deterrent aspect".
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also constituted a joint committee comprising representatives of Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment and Forests and IIT-Delhi to suggest realistic compensation to be recovered from them.
The NGT imposed environment compensation of Rs 10 crore on TDI Infrastructure Ltd, (For Kingsburry apartments).
"The period of violations is two years or more. The turnover of the projects is in hundreds of crores. The deficiencies are in the knowledge of the project proponents who are in regular business. During inspections noted above, project proponents have become further aware of the shortcomings."
"Though Environment is priceless, quantum of Environment Compensation has to be adequate to restore the environment and must have deterrent aspect so that such violations are not profitable. No lenient attitude can be shown nor can such matters be unduly prolonged," the bench said.
The tribunal directed the Haryana chief secretary to consider referring the matter to vigilance to ascertain intentional and collusive violation of law.
"The chief secretary may also oversee remedial action for speedy enforcement of environmental norms in the interest of health of the inhabitants," the bench said.
The green court said that the amount may be recovered by the state pollution control board and spent for restoration of the environment.
"The interim compensation will abide by final determination of compensation by the SPCB after following due procedure, including hearing the affected parties, in the light of the report of the joint Committee constituted as above.
"The Committee may give its report within three months by e-mail and a copy may also be provided to the state pollution control board and the project proponents."
"We have not considered necessary to hear project proponents at this stage in view of patent violations at this stage shown by an independent inspection report and also in view of the fact that they will have sufficient opportunity after an expert report is available," the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Haryana based organisation Kissan Udey Samiti seeking action against violation of environmental norms by builders in Sonipat.
The plea alleged that the builders were not providing proper sanitation system and sewage system in buildings constructed in Sonipat's Kundli.