Maharashtra: Supreme Court clarifies ESZ curbs, relief for developers

Times of India | 1 week ago | 24-09-2022 | 04:42 am

Maharashtra: Supreme Court clarifies ESZ curbs, relief for developers

MUMBAI: In a relief to developers and flat-buyers, the Supreme Court has upheld the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) notifications for the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in 2016 and for the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary in 2021. In August, the ESZ monitoring committee for SGNP had issued directives to the municipal commissioners of Mumbai, Thane and Mira-Bhayandar to stay all ongoing projects that did not have its approval though the corporation had issued NOC, and not to issue NOCs to new proposals. The move came after a Supreme Court order on June 3 that there should be no development within 1km of the ESZ around a national park, sanctuary or protected area. It later modified its directive, allowing ongoing projects to continue. National Real Estate Development Council (Maharashtra) filed an interim application before the Supreme Court for clarity as several housing projects in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Mira-Bhayandar were affected. Advocate Saket Mone who appeared for NAREDCO (Maharashtra) said: "We pointed out the ESZ notifications for SGNP and TCFS were already issued and the ESZ boundaries had been demarcated and notified. All development is now regulated in line with these notifications. We informed the court that construction activity is permissible in the ESZ," he said. The apex court accepted the plea and pointed out that in para 42 of its June 3 order it had already given the specific instance of SGNP and Guindy National Park in Chennai as exceptions. Para 42 states: "...It was argued before us that the 1km-wide "no-development zone" may not be feasible in all cases and specific instances were given for SGNP and Guindy National Park in Mumbai and Chennai metropolis, respectively, which have urban activities in very close proximity. These sanctuaries shall form special cases." Sandeep Runwal, Naredco (Maharashtra) president, said in a city like Mumbai where the SGNP is surrounded by urbanisation, it would have been impossible to implement the 1km no-development norm within the ESZ. "This order is a huge relief not just for developers but also flat buyers who have invested in these projects. At least 100 new projects are under construction at this stage in Thane, Mulund, Goregaon, Malad. Another 50-60 projects are underway in Navi Mumbai which would have been impacted."

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