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SEIAA cancels Mantri & Coremind project permissions

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The State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) Karnataka has cancelled the Environmental Clearances accorded to the Mantri and Coremind projects on the Bellandur Wetlands.
At a meeting of the SEIAA Karnataka held on 23rd February, the Environmental permissions were cancelled due to persistent failure on the part of the project proponents to meet the conditions stipulated by the NGT and submit a sustainable fresh proposal and environmental plan.
The Supreme Court, had, on the 22nd of February while taking up suo moto the issue of fire in the Bellandur lake, had asked the State Government to show cause as to why they should not be held in contempt due to failure to implement the NGT orders passed earlier.
Citizens continue to wonder as to whether the SEIAA actions result from any definite intention to take action or whether the cancellation orders are merely a step taken to assuage the NGT and prevent a finding of contempt. There are several other directives by the NGTwhich remain unimplemented. They include a directive to the Government to notify the wetlands around Bangalore, to implement revised buffer zones for all water bodies and to demolish all structures constructed by Mantri and Coremind which fall within the buffer zones of Bellandur lake.
The formal “cancellation” by the SEIAA has some positive effects.
a. It annuls automatically the KSPCB Clearance accorded to both entities — since the KSPCB clearance states that the clearance shall be valid until the date of the Enviro Clearance obtained and shall be invalid if the Enviro Clearance is annulled or withdrawn. Citizens intend to write to the KSPCB reminding them of this.
b. The cancellation letters make it clear that both Mantri and Coremind are proposing radical changes to the site plan and building layout. This will necessitate a fresh building plan approval from KIADB which citizens intend to forestall with a similar letter to CEO, KIADB.
Citizen groups fighting the issue have received assurances that the Government is serious about taking up demolition of the Mantri/ Coremind structures before the next day of hearing of the case (20th March). Given the earlier history of the Government promising a lot and doing very little, citizen groups continue to be skeptical about the Government really delivering on its commitments in this respect. ,
Meanwhile, at the Supreme Court, the Civil appeals of Mantri and Coremind (now joined by about 20 other builders) are slowly moving forward. It appears unlikely that Mantri or Coremind will be able to prevail there but what the court will decide in respect of those who were in the middle of the approval process when the NGT verdict came through is quite uncertain.

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