Environmental clearance of super-specialty hospital in Faridabad, quashed and fine imposed on “project proponent”

National Green Tribunal (NGT):While quashing the environmental clearance of a 450-bed super-specialty hospital in Faridabad granted by Haryana’s State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), NGT directed the developers and promoters of the project to pay an environmental compensation of Rs 6.88 crore for “degrading the environment”, and another Rs 5 crore for having started the project without obtaining environmental clearance. The Tribunal also directed that the super-specialty hospital, started by Vivekanand Ashram Society and QRG Medicare Ltd., would not carry out any activity in the entire premises and ordered the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCP) and Haryana’s Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to seal the premises if any activity was carried out. The order of the Tribunal came on an appeal filed by an environmental activist, who claimed that rules and regulations of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) regarding land use does not permit construction of a super-specialty hospital at the site in question as the said land was initially allotted to the Vivekanand Ashram Society for establishing a residential school and a social development centre but was taken over for constructing a 450-bed multi- specialty hospital by QRG Medicare Ltd. After perusal of the material on record, NGT observed, “These are not innocent people unaware of the law residing in some remote parts of the country, all these are builders constructing huge residential, commercial, mixed-purpose blocks, like hospital, as in the present case. The project proponents are persons having large means and perspicacity. These projects started after the 2006 notification came into force, but the proponents did not even bothered to apply for the grant of environmental clearance.” The Tribunal, though, refused to order the demolition of the hospital at this stage but asked the State Government to constitute an independent committee to inspect the site and make recommendations to ensure that the project proponents complies with all the relevant laws, particularly in relation to the protection of environment, ecology, water and air pollution and to give its findings within 45 days. (Krishan Lal Gera v. State of Haryana, 2015 SCC OnLine NGT 194, decided on 25-8-2015)

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