The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an fine of Rs 10 crore on a resort at Mahabalipuram for carrying out unauthorised construction in ‘no development zone’ in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules. The bench, comprising Justice K Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta, passed the order following a report submitted by a joint committee looking into the issue of various violations.
The penalty will have to be paid to the State Coastal Zone Management Authority within two months. As per CRZ norms, up to 200m from the High Tide Line (HTL) is a no development zone and the resort had built structures to the tune of 1,100.37 sqm, which now the tribunal has ordered to be demolished within two months. Meanwhile, the tribunal has allowed the resort to approach the authorities for ratification as a violation case regarding constructions made in the permissible area within three months.
“If the resort did not file an application within that time, the SCZMA has been directed to demolish the excess construction made within 200 to 500m from the HTL,” the order read. The resort has also been restrained from using the construction made in the no development zone area, and from using the excess area constructed till it is ratified by the authorities.
The applicant, ‘Meenava Thanthai’ Selvaraj Kumar, had moved the tribunal in 2016 alleging that the resort was located in CRZ-1 and CRZ zone and its operation hampered fishing activities in the area. The applicant also alleged that the resort had encroached beach land. Over the course of the hearing, the resort argued that the structures built within zero to 200m from the HTL had been existing for almost two decades and built as additional staff quarters after approvals from local authorities, and that it was willing to demolish it as a law abiding company, by way of abundant caution.