developers to get environmental clearance for projects above 20,000 sq m.
The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday made it mandatory for developers to get environmental clearance for projects above 20,000 sq m.
The ruling comes as a big blow to developers. Here's why.
"If the project area is less than 20,000 sq m, developers can get approval at the local level itself. Developers used to exclude non floor space index (FSI) while submitting plans, so as to decrease the total construction area and get the plan approved by the local corporation," said advocate Aditya Pratap, who argued the case before the bench.
The appellants were Sunil Kumar Chug and Ravindra Kumar Khosla, residents of an area in Sion where a Slum Rehabilitation Scheme was under implementation.
"Non-FSI area includes staircase, lobby, flowerbeds etc. Even though developers were charging buyers for super built-up area, they were systematically dropping this non-FSI area to avoid environmental clearance," Aditya said.
If a project is to be submitted for environment clearance, developers will have to show the entire plan, including parking space, recreation facilities, open space and fire safety system.
Predictably, the developer community is agitated. Ravi Patil, developer from Navi Mumbai, said that the appellate court ruling will have a negative impact on housing project in Mumbai city and its peripheries.
"Activists, buyers and residents of rehab buildings will use the order to change the plan. This ruling can set a wrong precedent to derail development. It is really a big setback. The government should appeal against this ruling," he said.
But Atul Nemade, a property expert, said that there is so much confusion in the developers' projects that no one understands what is the exact plan submitted and approved. "There should be transparency and rules have to be followed. Buyers should get adequate parking, open space and recreation facilities because they pay huge money to buy their dream homes," he said.
Aditya said most people were deprived of many facilities and amenities due to the developers' malpractice. "Earlier, in Slum Rehabilitation Projects, most parking was added to the sale component to make big money," he alleged.
He said that the present NGT order stated that the 2011 circular of the environment impact assessment will be applicable retrospectively since 2006.
Sunil Mantri, president of National Real Estate Development Council (Naredco), an umbrella body of developers, was surprised. "How can a ruling be implemented with retrospective effect? It will mess up the real- estate industry. As developers, we provide many services like gym and swimming pools. If everything is counted into FSI, developers will restrain from giving good facilities to buyers. This ruling may also override other decisions and circulars of government bodies. It will have an adverse impact on the property market. We will read the fine print and appeal against the ruling," said Mantri.