The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday imposed a stay on the alleged illegal construction of a multilevel car parking-cum-shopping hub in Sikkim's Gangtok city till March.
A bench of Justice B Amit Sthalekar (Judicial Member) and Justice Saibal Dasgupta (Expert Member) passed the directions on a plea alleging that the construction is 14-storeys tall and is a grave threat to the fragile ecology and life of people as the area is prone to earthquakes.
On the plea filed by Bina Basnett, a social worker, the tribunal has sought a reply of the Central Government, Sikkim Government, Gangtok Smart City Development Limited, Department of Mines and Geology, Urban Development and Housing Department.
The response has also been sought from Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority, Sikkim State Pollution Control Board, Deputy Commissioner, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Forest and Environment Department, and Gangtok Municipal Corporation.
“In our opinion, the matter requires consideration. Issue notice to the respondents, returnable within four weeks. All the Respondents shall file their counter-affidavits within four weeks. List on March 2. We direct that till the next date of listing there shall be a stay on construction in the area,” the Tribunal ordered.
As per the plea filed by Basnett through advocate Pratap Shanker, an illegal multilevel car parking-cum-shopping hub is being constructed at Old West Point School Area near Hotel Hungry Jack in Gangtok.
It was contended that the under-construction multilevel parking is to the extent of fourteen storeys but at no point of time can construction be more than five and a half storeys in height, as per April 2021 notification of the Sikkim Government.
She said that the construction is “wholly impermissible”.
She further contended that earthquakes of 4.5 to 5.5 magnitudes on the Richter Scale commonly hit the area as the state comes under Seismic Zone IV - a zone of considerable vulnerability, as per a 2011 study.
Therefore, the parking complex of 14 storeys is a “grave threat to the fragile ecology of the area and also to the life and limb of the people residing there”, she stated.