NGT’s Order on DLF’s Mall of India [%new%]
20th August 2014
News Credit- Sakhi Shah
The case relates to the delay in the opening of the Mall of India by DLF, due to concerns that it would affect the eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.
The Order of the NGT
The order of the NGT held, retrospectively, that the ‘eco-sensitive zone’ would be a radius of 10 km around the Okhla bird sanctuary. They also restrained the Noida Authority from granting completion certificates to the mall builders. It is required that a clearance be obtained from the Wildlife Board before construction can be done. As a consequence of this order, the UP Pollution Control Board has served a notice to DLF to stop all construction activities till they have obtained a clearance from the National Board for Wildlife.
The order of the NGT acts as a further delay for the launch of the mall that has already been delayed by over a year. The completion certificate is also required by 30,000 flat buyers, who are unable to move into their homes without the same. This will also affect investments worth 20,00 crores and 20,000 jobs that can be created by the retail and office space in the mall, which spans over 25 lakh square feet.
The Uttar Pradesh Government has suggested that the radius be 100m, not 10km. Alternatively, the developers have offered to launch Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives at the bird sanctuary. The Prime Minister’s Office is likely to be called upon to resolve this issue. DLF has said they will wait for clarifications on the issue from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which will issue a directive after considering the opinion of all stakeholders.