The National Green Tribunal has directed a builder in Noida to pay a compensation of Rs 15 crore for building extra floors in violation of the environmental clearance (EC) conditions, saying it placed an extra pollution load on the environment.
The green panel was hearing a petition against the violation of EC conditions by Express Builders and Promoters Private Limited in constructing ‘Express Zenith’ at Sector 77 in Noida. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said it was established while EC was granted for ground plus 18 floors, the builder had constructed ground plus 19 floors in five towers.
The bench, also comprising Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, said the construction of extra floors placed an extra pollution load on the environment and the builder was accountable for paying deterrent compensation on the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle. “Having regard to the situation that the 19th Floors in five towers have been sold and occupied and the demolition will affect third party rights, we consider it appropriate to levy compensation with deterrent element,” the bench said. The bench further said: “We quantify the same at Rs 15 crore, being 10 percent of the project cost as per the estimate in the EC, though the actual value may be more.” The green panel directed that the compensation be deposited with the District Magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar, within one month, and after the expiry of one month, recovery could be effected by permissible coercive measures.
The recovered compensation could be utilized for the restoration of the environment in terms of the District Environment Plan, the tribunal said.