Rahul Wadke

Mumbai, Sept. 3

THE work on redevelopment of the city's prominent textile lands have been suspended now because of a `cease work' notice issued by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

But, behind it lies a July 2004 notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF). This notification has made it mandatory for new construction projects with investment of more than Rs 50 crore, housing more than 1,000 people and discharging more than 50,000 litres of sewage every day to obtain environmental clearance under the Environment Protection Act.

Real estate developers here are unhappy with the recent MPCB order that has directed developers of four mill lands to stop construction activity on their premises. More may follow. According to Dr D.B. Boralkar, Member Secretary, MPCB, eight other developers will receive notice soon that will require them to stop work.

The environmental clearance can only be obtained after the developers apply to the MPCB seeking a public hearing and the issue of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) by MPCB after the successful conclusion of such a hearing. The NOCmust then be forwarded to the Union Ministry of Environment & Forest for the final environmental clearance.

Mr Sunil Mantri, Vice-President, Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, told Business Line that slapping stop work notice on the developers is a wrong move on the part of the State Government. Construction activity should continue, while the State Government processes the necessary clearances, he said.

The final clearances from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest takes about seven to 12 months; hence, work should not be stopped. Otherwise, workers will lose their jobs and there will be a phenomenal rise in the project cost, he added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 4, 2005)
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