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Builders fear more green hurdles for big projects

Comments Off on Builders fear more green hurdles for big projects   |   February 15, 2014    04:23pm   |Contributed by manoja

MUMBAI: A new state environment department circular has raised fears among developers that they may have to face more red tape and delay in procuring green clearances for large building projects.

The January 30 circular stipulates that builders must now mandatorily get their projects sanctioned by the planning authority (in Mumbai, it is the BMC) first and only then approach the environment department for clearance.

Construction industry sources said that currently developers submit their plans to the BMC and environment department simultaneously. But the new diktat, they said, means a further delay in starting their projects. Developers said environmental clearances in the Mumbai metropolitan region take an average of 12-36 months. An estimated 1,000 building project proposals are awaiting clearance in this region.

Any construction with a built-up area of more than 20,000 sq m must be approved by state-level expert appraisal committees (SEACs) and state-level environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA).

“At present, environmental clearance and obtaining the preliminary permissions from the BMC are done at the same time by the developer, thus saving time. But the new circular will delay work by a further 6-9 months,” said architect Manoj Daisaria.

However, environment secretary R A Rajeev, who signed the circular, said building plans placed for environment clearance are not the ones which are scrutinized primarily by the local planning authority. “Under the circumstances, it’s difficult to understand the proposed concessions in the building plans, which must be verified and certified by the competent authority. This is of utmost importance as these things are required in deciding the location of environmental infrastructure like sewage treatment plant, tree plantation space, pollution control mechanism in parking slots, etc. This is also required in calculating the gross pollution load of the project,” said the circular.

Rajeev further justified his decision, stating that many developers amend their building plans several times. “For every such amendment in building plans, the developer has to amend the prior environment clearance, and for this he has to approach the SEAC/SEIAA again and again. This delays construction projects and also piles up pendency before SEAC/SEIAA,” the circular said.

“Environmental permissions take a long time anyway. Many a time the department insists not to start the project, causing great hardship to us as well as the consumer,” said developer Sunil Mantri.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Builders-fear-more-green-hurdles-for-big-projects/articleshow/30191074.cms

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