NGT: Will consider lifting ban on construction in NCR

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The National Green Tribunal on Thursday banned all new construction activities in the heart of Shimla with immediate effect.

The NGT bench, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, also prohibited the builders from withdrawing money from their bank accounts and directed them to fix the STPs and get them inspected by the Haryana Pollution Control Board.

The tribunal directed schools and colleges to approach a committee constituted by it.

It also warned that any institution failing to install the rainwater harvesting system within the stipulated period would be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

The ToI report adds that the state government denied any violation of green laws and said that it was taking all measures to protect greenery in and around the capital region, overseen by the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA). "Even in these areas, construction will not be permitted beyond two storeys plus attic floor".

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The tribunal appointed a "high powered expert committee", which would be responsible for carrying out the directions of the judgement and provide no objection certificate to the stakeholders including the state and private parties.

The case gathered momentum as retired bureaucrat EAS Sarma filed another petition, challenging the hurried grant of environmental clearances by the state-level environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA), the Times of India reported.

There should be no regularisation of unauthorised constructions within the forest areas which have been raised without obtaining any prior permission, the tribunal said.

All previous NGT orders, including on odd-even exemptions, will stand; Delhi, UP, Punjab, and Haryana asked to chalk out comprehensive action plan in two weeks.