Environmental compensation of Rs 25 lakh imposedon Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority

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Being Cautious with the environment, the National Green Tribunal imposed environmental compensation of Rupees 25 lakhs on the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority while hearing an appeal filled by Jalbiradari (social organization) and an NGO Vanashakti. The Appeal was filed against the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) for granting CRZ clearance for construction work near the bank of river Mithi.  MMRDA was accused of widening the river and carrying on the blasting work in the river violating the relevant laws in force.  NGT after going through all the relevant documents and hearing both the sides found MMRDA liable for non-compliance with the laws in force which resulted in degradation of the environment.  Initially NGT has directed project proponents to pay Rs. 25 lakhs as environmental compensation and also ordered to constitute an expert body comprising members of State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to look into the matter and submit the final report to which this compensation would be subjected. SEIAA is empowered to evaluate the entire amount that is to be imposed upon MMRDA for its defaults, violations and for damaging the environment, ecology and biodiversity of Mithi River and its surroundings. Tribunal also gave SEIAA authority to give direction in order to demolish the part of construction if they feel so in the interest of environment. Hon’ble Tribunal specially mentioned SEIAA to ensure that the flow of Mithi River should not be affected much because of the construction and also to protect the creek of Mithi River where it discharges.

Rishi Agarwal (Environmental activist) is a one of the main persons behind organizing Mithi yatra in year 2009 against the construction. He welcomed the judgment of the tribunal and demanded for punitive actions against the specific officials if wrongdoing is proved.

Director (projects) for Vanashakti Stalin D announced this as a landmark judgment. He condemned MMRDA for its environmental degrading practices. He added that MMRDA has a history of brazenly violating all the environmental rules, including Aarey. He seemed hopeful for the restoration of the damage done.

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