In December 2014, the Kerala High Court ordered the state government to demolish DLF apartment complex built on the banks of Chilavannor Lake

Year after Kerala HC orders demolition of Kochi DLF building centre comes to companys rescue
news CRZ Violation Friday, June 03, 2016 - 19:06

The Union Environment Ministry on Friday, gave a clean chit to DLF apartment complex in Kochi, claiming that no violation has taken place in the construction of the apartment.

In December 2014, the Kerala High Court ordered the state government to demolish DLF apartment complex built on the banks of Chilavannor Lake for violating Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms.

In the affidavit submitted in the Kerala High Court by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Regional Office (Southern Zone), the ministry has maintained that the apartment complex was built in accordance with the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms and that the regulations laid down by Environmental Impact Assessment Authority has not been flouted in the construction.  

The affidavit submitted says that “based on the recommendations of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA), the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) considered the project in its 24th meeting held in 2013 and since the project comes under category B, 8A of schedule of EIA notification, the SIEAA accorded integrated CRZ cum environmental clearance for the construction of multi-storied residential building of DLF riverside housing project with certain conditions.”

The centre’s stand comes across as a surprise since a three- member committee of KCZMA in 2014 had submitted a report that the construction had come up on Pokkali fields or natural paddy fields. Moreover the report also said that the construction of some parts violated the CRZ act, and encroached several metres into the backwaters.

That was not all. The report submitted to the High Court in 2014 also found that even the authenticity of land ownership papers was doubtful.

After the builders obtained a stay against demolishing the complex from a division bench, the High Court had suo-moto made the Ministry of Environment and Forest a party in the case.  

An excerpt from the affidavit reads: “The project proponents have adhered to the conditions laid down by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority and have not violated any of the provisions. The said constructions are technically as per the provisions of the CRZ Notification, 1991 and EIA Notification, 2006.”

Read: In Kochi, waterfront apartments eating away at lake habitats 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.