NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL IS furious at BBMP buffer zone exemptions Circular by the Commissioner, stating that the NGT order does not have retrospective effect


BBMP Commissioner has issued internal circular to the Town Planning Authorities that the NGT order on the Buffer Zone will be PROSPECTIVE.  Those who have already obtained or sanctioned the building plan and other plans need not comply with the buffer zone regulation.  This act has angered the NGT.  NGT has directed the BBMP to immediately appear before it and explain this ACT by BBMP today.  Otherwise, contempt proceedings will be initiated and the concerned officials will be PUNISHED.
It is further learnt from reliable sources, that the BBMP Commissioner was advised by the LEGAL EXPERTS that the NGT order is not retrospective.  Based on their extensive and in depth knowledge, expertise and advise, the Commissioner, seems to have issued the Circular.
Taking exception to a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) circular exempting projects, whose plans had been sanctioned before the order, from its buffer zone ruling, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday ordered all civic officials who had approved and issued the circular to be present before it on Wednesday.

The principal bench in Delhi is hearing the Bellandur Lake case when intervener Namma Bengaluru Foundation submitted the BBMP circular dated March 30, 2017, highlighting the civic body’s apathy to the city’s lakes.

The foundation counsel accused the authorities of malfeasance in circumventing the tribunal’s directives. He also read out extracts of the urban development department letter, referred to by the circular, which stated that the NGT does not have powers to frame law.

Furious at the language of the circular, the green bench asked the Karnataka

government counsel: “By what authority have you clarified our judgment?“ The bench threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against guilty officials. The Karnataka counsel conceded that the language used was `unfortunate’.

The bench also summoned the state pollution control board, lake conservation and development authority and BWSSB officials to appear before it at Wednesday’s hearing. It directed the state to make special arrangements for their travel, if required, to get them to the court in time. The tribunal also expressed serious concern at the apathy of officials present in the courtroom regarding the quanity of sewage being treated or dumped in Bengaluru’s waterbodies.

Mahendra Jain, additional chief secretary, urban development department, who was present in court, submitted that 480 million litres per day (MLDs) of untreated sewage flows towards Bellandur lake, of which about 250 MLDs gets treated. He also said Sewage Treatment Plants of 150 MLD are being built near the lake.

When these figures contradicted figures in affidavits filed by different authorities, the officer sought time to reconcile his notes.

At a hearing last week, the tribunal had directed the state government to stop flow of untreated sewage into the lake immediately. The government was warned that an environment compensation charge would be imposed if it failed to comply with the direction. Jain appeared before the NGT on behalf of the chief secretary who had been summoned.

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