*Representational Picture Courtesy-gsdp-envis.gov.in

The construction projects undertaken by the Jharkhand government's Urban Development Department are going to suffer. Reason?

The National Green Tribunal(NGT) has directed it to stop the construction of all construction works that were going on without obtaining prior environmental clearance (EC).

'The construction must be stopped forthwith until the permission is obtained', rules NGT.

Notably, the NGT is a central government body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.  

The NGT has directed the state's Urban Development Department to "ensure that Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of all the structures which have been raised in the municipal areas be done expeditiously in accordance with the procedure laid down in the EIA Notification 2006." 

'Similar action shall be taken in respect of the structures falling within notified Nagarpalika areas and Gram Panchayats', it said.

A bench headed by Justice S P Wangdi noted that the status report of Jharkhand reveals 35 major structures that have been constructed, admittedly without prior EC.

The petitioner had submitted that the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB) had recommended environmental compensation of about Rs 49 crore for the assembly building and around Rs 80 crore for the high court building.

"Action shall be initiated under section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by the State Pollution Control Board forthwith against those who are responsible for the violations," the bench said.

The CPCB had earlier told the NGT that the state government is liable to pay environmental compensation of varying sums for the proposed Assembly Building (Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha) and New Ranchi High Court Building & Residential Complex.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by activist R K Singh alleging that construction of various buildings in the cities of Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro and Deogarh have been carried out without obtaining mandatory prior environmental clearance under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006.

It said that there is a large number of major structures in the state which have not undergone the EIA process.

The green panel had earlier constituted a committee comprising representatives from the regional office of the MoEF and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to verify the claims of the petitioner and submit a report.

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