The National Green Tribunal Southern Zone (NGT SZ) on Monday directed a Chennai-based private builder to pay Rs 5.5 crore for violating environmental laws.
Puravankara Projects Limited in 2008 had obtained environmental clearance for the construction of a residential apartment complex named Provident Cosmo City at Pudupakkam in Chengalpet with 1,184 units. The next year, Puravankara decided to expand the complex by constructing 990 more residential units.
Though it applied for environmental clearance, it was not granted by the government. But the builder went ahead with the construction and increased the total residential units count to 2,174, according to an application filed before the tribunal by the apartment residents in 2021.
The firm had also complained about certain deficiencies in the sewage treatment plants (STPs) and diesel generator (DG) sets, and this caused foul odour and heavy noise.
A joint-committee constituted by the tribunal to study this issue noted a few deficiencies in the manner an STP was operated and the ambient noise level was between 59.6 decibels (dB) to 65.8 dB as against the standard of 55 dB.
Also, they found out that no permission (consent to establish/operate) was obtained by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB). Based on these findings, the board directed the project proponent to pay Rs 1.2 crore as compensation for damaging the environment.
The builder in response argued that the inspection was done by the joint-committee nearly three years after the maintenance was handed over to the occupants of the apartment complex − Cosmo City Residents Welfare Association (CCRWA) − and only they have to pay the compensation.
After hearing both sides, the tribunal on May 23 found the project proponent had violated environmental laws and they were liable to pay a compensation of Rs 5.5 crore within two months and rectify deficiencies pointed out by the committee. Once the defects are rectified, CCRWA has been told to carry out the maintenance of STP and DG sets.