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Pros & cons of the expert panel report

DSC03892nThose following the case will be aware that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) , in its orders of May 2015, while finding the builders guilty of multiple violations and levying an unprecedented fine of almost Rs. 140 Crores, had also constituted a High Level Committee to go into the details of violations on the site, present a detailed report on what is the situation on the site and make detailed recommendations.
The report of the committee was prepared and handed over to the NGT a few weeks ago.
On the positive side, the committee made the following observations:
* That both builders should have gone to the Sensitive areas committee of the BDA for clearance and this has not been done. Therefore both builders should take their plans there for clearance and should not build until this had been done,
* Both builders are in violation of various conditions of their KIADB lease and the lease should not be extended until and unless they are in compliance.
* For Mantri developers, the report found:
* Illegal land grab to the extent of almost 10 acres — a very serious allegation.
* Presenting wrong information to the BWSSB to get an NOC which therefore stands vitiated and null and void.
* Failure to extend their High Level committee clearances
* Illegal dumping of debris and choking off the Rajakaluves which need to be stopped and restored.
On the negative side, the committee
* Made no recommendation to cancel the project
* Did not opine as to whether the project stood on wetlands or not
* Did not explicitly answer the question posed by the NGT as to what if any conditions were being violated.
* Did not make any recommendation as to penalties and other action
* Did not comment on the serious issues raised by LDA, MoeF and other Governmental agencies
The committee report was considered by the NGT in its hearing on Thursday and as soon as the hearing convened there were fireworks.
The NGT Bench delivered a totally scathing attack on the work of the committee specifically its failure to address the points that have been mentioned.
Two members of the NGT have now been rushed to Bangalore to monitor further progress of the Committee.
The Committee has been asked to reconvene and do its job properly. With a kick now being administered by the NGT, one can hope that those in the Committee who were more interested in white-washing the builders’ violations will be forced into a corner.
On another front, a group of citizens fighting this issue have made a presentation to the Legislative Committee on lakes headed by Koliwad.
The committee has a few city MLAs as its members including Shantinagar MLA N A Haris and Suresh Kumar.

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