In a landmark verdict on the 4th of May, the National Green Tribunal quashed the environmental clearances of 2 well known developers in Bengaluru. Both Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd and Coremind Software Services (developed by the Salarpuria Sattva group) were slapped with a penalty of Rs 117.35 Crores and Rs 13.5 Crores respectively. The NGT ruling is certain to have a long-term impact on development in the city.
New Rules To Protect Bengaluru’s Lakes
The directives were issued on the back of a petition filed by the Namma Bengaluru Foundation. Key highlights include:
· The Tribunal defining new buffer zones for the areas around lakes and feeder canals. The earlier buffer zone was 30 meters.
· The new formula will measure the buffer zone from the edge of the storm water drain and not the centre, as was done earlier
· No construction activity will be allowed within 50 meters, 35 meters and 25 meters from the primary, secondary and tertiary drains respectively.
· The order also directed Mantri Developers to restore 3.10 acres of the encroached lakebed area to its original form.
“The positive implication of this judgment is that the state government will have to identify and notify wetlands in Bengaluru,” said Sridharan Pabbishetti, CEO of the Namma Bengaluru Foundation. “This move will create awareness and warn developers, instead of us having to get entangled in long drawn court battles in the future.”
Housing May Get More Expensive
But what are the implications of this verdict on developers in Bengaluru? The order mandates that builders will have to use only treated water for construction activity. The source of this water will have to be mentioned in the Environmental Clearance certificates. Using treated water will surely add to the cost of construction, which in turn may be passed onto you, the homebuyer. Developers are also worried that the directive may have more drastic implications on the sale of lake view or lakeside apartments which are much sought after in Bengaluru.
“The NGT order is most welcomed. However it has left many buyers in doubt,” says Irshad Ahmed, president of the Bangalore Realtors Association of India. “Buyers who have already purchased apartments near lakes will be a bit jittery. We will have to wait and watch how developers handle the situation.” he added.
Implementation of this order will be an arduous task. It’s not just private developers, even government bodies like the BDA and BBMP have blatantly encroached upon areas surrounding the city’s lakes. But all said and done, the NGTs order is sure to breathe new life into Bengaluru’s dying lakes.
Reporter: Stacy Pereira, NDTV
Web Editor: Nikhil Narayan Sivadas, NDTV