New Delhi, Oct 24 The National Green Tribunal has cleared the decks for re-development of the Pragati Maidan exhibition complex here and junked a plea challenging the decision to turn it into a world-class convention centre.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel dismissed the plea, which also sought quashing of environmental clearance granted to the India Trade Promotion Organisation, which manages the exhibition complex.
The green panel said doubts have been expressed by the applicant on the reliability of the studies undertaken and the credibility of the Environment Impact Assessment Report, but they are not supported by better materials and the plea deserves to be rejected.
It said the examination and scrutiny of the process does not reveal any substantial deficiency so as to vitiate the environmental clearance.
"The tribunal as the appellate authority against the grant of Environmental Clearance has examined not only the EIA Report but also the entire stages in the EIA process. The examination and scrutiny of the process does not reveal any substantial deficiency so as to vitiate the Environmental Clearance," said the bench.
"The object of undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is founded on the principal of Sustainable Development and the Precautionary Principle. As already discussed, the principle concerns raised by the Appellant in respect of Environmental Clearance do not appear to be justified," it added.
The tribunal, however, said that it was necessary for the Union Environment Ministry and other regulatory authorities to ensure that each of the conditions of the environmental clearance are meticulously complied with by monitoring the project closely.
It directed that physical inspections of the project site be held periodically to ensure that the conditions of the environmental clearance are complied with both during the construction and the operational phases.
The NGT was hearing a plea filed by environment activist Verhaen Khanna and others seeking inquiry against officers of the ministry and others who "completely failed in discharging their statutory duties" by granting the EC.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests had earlier told the tribunal that the environmental clearance was issued after due consideration of the EIA Report dated June 26, 2018 by the EAC apprising of various experts.
The plea filed in the tribunal has sought quashing of the environmental clearance granted to the India Trade Promotion Organisation for re-development of Pragati Maidan complex into a world-class convention centre.
"The EC was obtained by concealing material information and the appraisal of the project has been conducted in complete violation of the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006," the plea had alleged.
The redevelopment plan is to develop a total of 3,26,065 sq m of built-up area, including 1,19,445 sq m of exhibition space, a convention centre with seating capacity of 7,000 people with a number of different-sized meeting rooms, space for public circulation in phase-I. PKS UK SA