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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

NGT cracks whip on projects without Prior Environmental Clearance, real estate projects also in trouble

In a landmark judgment recently National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a penalty of Rs 76.192 crore on seven private builders from Tamilnadu for raising structures without “ prior environment clearance”. NGT has also quashed two Office Memoranda (O.M.) dated December 12, 2012 and June 27, 2013, of Union Ministry of Environment terming them as 'ultra vires' the provisions of the Act of 1986 and the EIA notification of 2006.


This judgement is big blow to builders all over India  and specially for Pune being hub of illegal constructions where many residential and commercial projects are on without obtaining necessary “Prior Environment clearance” (PEC). As the big politicians and babus are indirectly involved in this racket earlier no project proponent of such activities was  scared of any law in India. However latest NGT judgment may  be a nightmare for builders who have cheated innocent property buyers for crores of rupees. The NGT is the institution that  has  dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters to provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.




Actually builder can start the construction only after he obtains the environmental clearance. However many builders had started construction without even applying for it. When property buyers asked about EC Builders use to mislead them by telling that - the builder can construct up to 2 lakh sq.ft. Without obtaining EC.  We have applied for EC Or We will launch next phase only after obtaining EC. The NGT judgement may put some check on such builder’s gammon.

Earlier if project proponent was found to have started construction without “ prior Environmental clearance”, under the garb of above memorandum on recommendation of SEAC’s  SEIIA used to send  notices for such violation then Project Proponent used to file an undertaking to ensure that violations will not be  repeated. Then proposal would be considered for environmental clearance. However NGT has described this process as violation of law condoning illegal act.

The EIA  Notification 2006  mandates the requirement of ‘prior Environmental Clearance’ without exception. However as per NGT the entire mandate of prior Environmental Clearance has not only been diluted but completely rendered infructuous or ineffective by issuance of these  Office Memoranda dated


AS per NGT,  if construction is found to be started without prior environmental clearance. Authorities have to send stop work notice. Take penal action against project proponent. Demolish or regularize the construction as per NGT act. And then only proposal for fresh “Prior environmental clearance “should be heard.

Photo Courtsey www.zameen.com
The NGT  held Office Memoranda (O.M.) dated December 12, 2012 and June 27, 2013 under which violations of PEC were being condoned , to be ineffective and prohibited the MoEF and the SEIAA in the entire country from giving effect to these Office Memoranda in any manner, whatsoever.

NGT also levelled a fine of five per cent of the total cost incurred  i.e
Mr. Y. Pondurai: Rs. 7.4125 crores.
M/s Ruby Manoharan Property Developers Pvt. Ltd.: Rs. 1.8495 crores.
M/s Jones Foundations Pvt. Ltd.: Rs. 7 crores.
M/s SSM Builders and Promoters: Rs. 36 crores.
M/s SPR and RG Construction Pvt. Ltd.: Rs. 12.5505 crores.
M/s Dugar Housing Ltd.: Rs. 6.8795 crores.
M/s SAS Realtors Pvt. Ltd.: Rs. 4.5 crores.
All from Tamilnadu.

NGT also made it clear that The above environmental compensation was  being imposed on account of the intentional defaults and the conduct attributable only to the Project Proponents. NGT directed that the Project Proponents shall not pass on this compensation to the purchasers / prospective purchasers, as an element of sale.

The other key points of the judgment are

1) The impugned Office Memoranda (dated December 12, 2012 and June 27, 2013) were not only in conflict with the Notification of 2006, but in fact run contra thereto. What was not only intended but in fact was prohibited to be done, was being permitted by the impugned Office Memoranda. They had been issued without reference to any power or source of law and were neither pronounced nor authenticated in the name of the prescribed executive authority.

Photo courtsey www.indianrealestatefordummies.in
2)The requirements of the Notification of 2006 are mandatory in character (PEC). Their default or non-compliance is liable to be punished. The intention of the Legislature is to protect the environment for which words of specific nature like ‘prior’ and ‘shall’ have been used. The impact of non-compliance of these provisions would be of serious consequence, not only on environment but upon the society at large. All these enactments are unambiguous and framed in no uncertain terms and this conveys that projects commenced without obtaining Environmental Clearance would invite the penalty postulated under the Act of 1986 the provisions of Notification 2006 are mandatory and not procedural simplicitor.

Photo Courtsey www.polyp.org.uk
3)The contention  that the Project Proponents were under a bonafide belief that they could start the construction without obtaining the Environmental Clearance which they were expected to obtain prior to grant of completion certificate only. NGT held This submission  fallacious at the face of it. Every person is expected to know the law. Ignorance of law cannot be a plea. The Project Proponents were not persons who can be presumed to be in ignorant of law, they were into this business for years and the Notification of 2006 came into the existence in the year 2006. All the projects in question commenced in the year 2010 and subsequent thereto

4)The illegal and indiscriminate development activity that has been carried out by the Project Proponents is bound to have serious impacts on environment, ecology and biodiversity and a very comprehensive and stringent study would be required to dilute or mitigate adverse environmental impacts of the projects in question
  
5)To obtain Environmental Clearance prior to commencement of any activity or project is the mandate of law. This language has to be given its proper and purposive meaning. It is undoubtedly mandatory. When the law mandates prior approval, it ought not to be averred as post activity approval or ex-post facto permission.

This judgement will have long term impact on real estate business in India. However that doesn’t mean builders will stop cheating property buyers. As public authorities in India are stooges in the hands of such notorious builders . they will find new ways to cheat. However if property buyers don’t want their hard earned money to go waste, they should take following precautions.

Photo Courtsey snagesh.wordpress.com


1) If you are booking or have booked a flat in new scheme and if that project requires prior environment clearance, ask for it..

2) If such project proponent (PP)  has started construction without PEC , then immediately lodge a complaint with concerned authority

3) If environmental clearance granted is conditional one. Then it is not clear recommendation. It becomes full clearance only after PP fulfills the conditions

4) In case of conditional recommendations adequate precaution should be taken. Because some times to comply with condition like water supply or sewage treatment PP provide fake or certificates from any tom dick and harry who do not have authority to issue such certificates. Especially in case of water supply PP produces certificates from village heads and authorities blindly believe in those certificates however in such cases nobody takes responsibility of actual water supply. In this case you have to obtain information on what grounds such certificate has been issued. It is fact that verifying such documents is responsibility of public authorities. But when they are hand in gloves with real state mafia’s property buyers have to take adequate precaution.


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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

After being “little bit urban” same cities are now ready to be SMART

After being “little bit urban” under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban renewal Mission ( JNNURM) many same cities are now ready to be SMART  under PM Narendra Modi’s Smart Cities scheme. And off course Pune and Pimpri Chinachwad are  no eception to that.PM Narendra Modi has squashed JNNURM and started the smart city scheme where the Centre and state will fund  some amount  remaining will be contributed by the chosen cities. There are some guidelines framed for cities to be smart under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)

Photo Courtsey https://www.sunstonecommunication.com


The smart city mission will focus on water supply, sewerage facilities and sewage management, storm water drains to reduce flooding,. pedestrian, non-motorized and public transport facilities, parking spaces, and enhancing amenity value of cities by creating and upgrading green spaces, parks and recreation centers, especially for children.

Photo Courtsey kannanranji.wordpress.com
Public information, grievance redressal, electronic service delivery, citizens’ engagement, waste to energy & fuel, waste to compost, 100% treatment of waste water, smart meters & management, monitoring water quality, renewable source of energy, efficient energy and green building, smart parking, intelligent traffic management system are the key areas that are to be improved under smart city mission.

The ​Central government had invited proposals from cities who want to be a part of smart cities mission. The cities were supposed to send proposals after consulting people . However Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) being already smart, ​it sent a​n​ invitation to some ​"​smart​"​ activists and NGO’s to give consent for smart city proposal. PMC sent​ the​ invitation​ ​on 8th ​July (Evening) and convened the meeting on 9th ​July i.e very next ​day ​at 11 A M .

​The names of participants are not known. However, former ​Major ​General and P​resident of Nagrik Chetna Mach refused to be “PMC Smart” activist or NGO.  The reasons he ​gave for declining to attend were 1) ​The ​invitation ​for the meeting received very late and it is not possible to attend​ the​ meeting at ​the ​11th ​h​our 2) PMC  hasn’t shown any proof whether it has ​the ​capability of​ making Pune a​ Smart City​ as PMC has failed in public transportation, water​ supply​ and solid waste management.​ ​PMPML has failed because of ​PMC does not give the promised fundsand PMC has also failed in completing any project as per the rules and regulations.​ ​3) How the funds under JNNURM were spent known to all.

However PMC sent proposal to state government. Meanwhile Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation also sent proposal to be part of Smart cities. PMC at least did a farce of public participation, PCMC didn’t even bother to ask or consult anybody. Now state government has sent PMC and PCMC”s proposal together to central government

Smart city means a city equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions. However as the new generation’s life revolve around smart phones most of suggestions given are related to mobile applications. For them being smart means only use of smart phones and mobile apps. PMC is to be blamed for this to happen because they didn’t provide background material to citizens before inviting suggestions.  Unless basic infrastructure is not improved improved mobile apps or computer can do nothing.

As far as many municipal officers are concerned they use computers as typewriters only. If you send them email they take printout and process it manually, for them that is the height of e governance. Anyways, fortunately app lovers haven’t sent proposals for online games, casinos, discotheques or pubs as new generations need. For detail suggestions visit  http://punesmartcity.in 


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Monday, August 10, 2015

Government appoints Committee to test correctness of Pune divisional commissioner’s inquiry report in five year old girls death

On Bombay High courts direction government of Maharashtra has appointed one man committee to inquire intocorrectness of the report filed by Pune divisional commissioner S Choklingam in5 year old girl’s death due to fatal administrative negligence. Soufiya was   a   victim   of   a   serious   disease   known   as “Hydrocephalus with CP”. Due to such serious disease of brain, her both hands as well as legs were affected.

Photo courtsey Moneylife.in
On 5th February HC had directed Solapur Zilha Parishad to pay 5 lakh rupees as compensation to soufiyas parents and also ordered Pune Divisional commissioner to to hold an inquiry into the aspect of delay and fix  the responsibilities for the fatal delay. HC had also asked divisional commission to direct initiation of a departmental inquiry against all those who were responsible for this fatal delay.

However divisional commissioner in his inquiry report had come to the conclusion that neither the Civil Surgeon nor the Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad was responsible for the delay. After perusing  said report HC foundthat  the correctness of the report needs to be tested and directed the Principal Secretary of the Health Department of the State Government to  nominate appropriate higher officer to look into the entire record of the inquiry and to record his own conclusions in the matter after considering the report of the Divisional Commissioner.
 
S Choklingam
Under The Central Governments “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan”Zilla  Parishads   identify   the  disabled  and   poor students and provide them medical treatment in recognized hospitals. In soufiyas’ case,  health   camps   were   organized   for   the   purposes   of examining the children who were suffering from various disabilities in Solapur district.  Civil Surgeon of District Solapur submitted a report on 6 th July 2013 to the Chief Executive Officer of Solapur Zilla Parishad. The said report was based on the report submitted by Shri Annasaheb Shinde Mhaisalkar Charitable Trust, Sangli.   The said Trust examined disabled students needing surgery.  The said Trust submitted a detailed report   as   regards   29   students. 

Then Civil Surgeon recommended the said proposal for sanction.  However no   order   was   immediately   issued   by   the   Chief   Executive Officer of Zilla Parishad.    The said order was belatedly issued on 3rd September   2013.     Unfortunately,   the   said   girl   Sofiya   died   on   1st September 2013.

It was recorded that the girl was examined in the camp held on 8th  July 2013 with a view to ensure that she gets treatment by Specialists at the earliest.   The civil surgeon’s letter in this case specifically noted that if the Chief Executive Officer had issued orders earlier, the girl Soufiya could have been saved. As the entire expenditure on the surgery and treatment of the sofiya was approved by the Civil Surgeon, only on account of fatal delay in issuing consequential order that the girl died without receiving the required medical treatment.

The HC also observed from the communication dated 3rd August 2013 addressed by the Civil Surgeon, Solapur, to the Chief   Executive   Officer   of   Solapur   records   that   not   only   that   the elementary   facilities   were   lacking   in   the   “Vaijanta   Shamrao   Sawant Charitable Trust's Aditya Hospital” at Vishram Baug, Sangli, but even a Full Time Orthopedic Surgeon was not available in the said hospital.  It Was recorded that the said hospital did not not have Pediatric Orthopedic Instruments   and   there   were   no   facilities   of   Physiotherapy   and   Post Operative Rehabilitation in the said hospital.     In fact, the said letter recorded that the said Hospital was not capable of treating the children needing orthopedic treatment. 

The HC aslo    directed   the   Divisional   Commissioner,   Pune Division, Pune, to hold an inquiry into the fact that notwithstanding the communication dated 3rd  August 2013 issued by the Civil Surgeon, Solapur, the cases recommended   by   the   Civil   Surgeon,   Solapur,   were referred to Vaijanta Shamrao Sawant Charitable Trust's Aditya Hospital at Vishram Baug, Sangli;

HC also asked The Divisional Commissioner to  look into the alleged action of approving payment of amount to the said   Vaijanta   Shamrao   Sawant   Charitable   Trust's Aditya Hospital at Vishram Baug, Sangli, in relation to the   alleged   surgery   performed   on   the   disabled students.

The divisional commissioner hold inquiry but found and that neither the Civil Surgeon nor the Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad was responsible for the delay. After perusing  said report HC observed that  the correctness of the report needs to be tested and directed the Principal Secretary of the Health Department of the State Government to  nominate appropriate higher officer to look into the entire record of the inquiry and to record his own conclusions in the matter after considering the report of the Divisional Commissioner.


This is how administration in Maharashtra works, even after high court observed that soufiyas life could have been saved if she had received right treatment at right place. The divisional commissioner didn’t find any body guilty of criminal negligence. It seems that not only politicians but babus in Maharashtra do not give any heed to poor children rights. Recent chikki scam and soufiya death case are classic examples of it.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Contractor - Politicians nexus exposed, Khadse - Shaina NC attended biscuit scam accused program, Maharashtra chikki Scam

Former chief minister and Congress leader Narayan Rane recently revealed that Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse had recommended the Sindhudurg based Suryakanta Mahila Audyogic Sanstha (SMASS) in 2012 for the procuring of chikki children of anganwadis. Rane’s revelation is actually confession of how all political parties’ years together are doing injustice towards malnourished children.

 
Photo Courtsey Shaina NC facebook and twiter  - https://www.facebook.com/ShainaNC/posts/827177897378629,  https://twitter.com/shainanc/status/598892574171013120 
All the scammers in Maharashtra Mantralay have good relations with politicians .SMASS has been accused of Chikki scam in Maharashtra. The companies providing chikki, biscuits and other products to government of Maharashtra never introduced their products in open market.

Not only SMASS , Khadse and BJP leader Shaina NC had also attended a program arranged by another accused in this scam the ayurvedic biscuit provider to anganwadies.
Gowardhan ayur farma Pvt  Ltd (GAFPL)   was awarded contract of providing ayurvedic biscuits. Managing Director of GAFPL Bhagyashree Chounde also runs a NGO called Gowardhan Mahila Vikas Pratisthan (GMVP) .In may 2015 along with revenue minister Eknath Khadase BJP leader Shaiana N C also attended the program arranged by GMVP. This shows how the contractors who have a very close relation with politicos manage to get contracts violating all the rule, regulations and ethics.

Pankaja munde on 12 February 2015 ordered purchases of ayurvedic biscuits worth 95, 51,124/   .But very next day  it was increased to 5 crores  without any changes in number of beneficiaries. When order was passed not competitive bids were invited, rate contract with company was not in force, nor company had its own production unit. Even company didn’t have FSSAI license for any of its products. Company had applied for that but the file was closed for lack of some compliance from applicant. Later on these biscuits were found to be unsafe to eat. Food and drug authority revealed that acidity count was much higher than permissible count.


Though Rane has accused that Khadse recommended SMASS chikki Its first factory as per their website was inaugurated by Narayan Rane himself. It is also clear that when Rate fixation with SMASS was done Rane was minister of industries who reserved chikki to be purchased from SMASS only. This definitely shows the nexus between the contractors and politicians.

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Maharashtra Chikki Scam, who is kingpin of the racket and contractors' nexus ?

Every scam carries its own Identity. Recent 206 crore procurement scam in women and child department of Maharashtra has become infamous has “Chikki Scam” . Chikki being major portion of  procurement this scam deserves to be named after “chikki”. But in this entire journey of malpractices and corruption Chikki is not alone. Ayuvedic biscuits, hand made paper, steel plates, sprinkles, protein powder, books, growth monitoring machines and  plastic mats  are also accompanying it. However documents reveal that these contractors are no separate from each other but are stooges  of one kingpin.  Now it is up to the government to find out who is that culprit.

Photo courtsey, stellanimzjohn.wordpress.com







It seems that this business of siphoning public money was going on in WCD since last many years. They wait for money to be allotted under integrated child Development Scheme ( ICDS ) and then distribute money amongst themselves.


Photo courtsey bhaskar.com



See the cell number on chikki wrapper








If we look at the entire procurement procedure of this 206 crore scam one can easily come to the conclusion that this racket was being run in Mantralay corridors since last many years. There is reason to believe this theory. Of this entire procurement scam most of the suppliers were not manufacturers, they were so called distributors, The factories shown for obtaining orders were  either  closed long back or  did not exist at all. Email ids given on rate contract do not work at all. In none of the entire documents of industry department, DGS%D or WCD there were names of the owner or managers .In many cases it was impossible to receive communication by post because of distance and short period for compliance of certain things. That means somebody on behalf of all these contractors and suppliers was completing necessary procedures in WCD and Industry departments.

Pls see the cell number of this water purifier supplier in2015







Now there is another proof  to believe that all these contractors and suppliers are connected to each other. If you look carefully at the rajgira chikki wrapper,  you will notice its consumer care cell no 9823322798.

Now see the cell number of same company for water purifier








Now what can be connection of Suryakanta mahila sahakari audyogik sanstha the manufacturer of chikki with Everest industries the  water purifier supplier in aurangabad? . but you will find same number in industry departments communication with Everest industries this year for water purifiers and last year also for supply of plastic mats.That can not be coincidence. That means somebody is running this racket and all the so called suppliers and contractors are pawns.

If investigated properly this cam may take toll of guilty contractors along with several present and former officers and ministers.

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Medicines that couldn’t kill bloodsucker worms, Maharashtra chikki scam part 10

This is era of scams but still people expect that scammers should at least spare children’s health. It’s unfortunate that these people don’t even spare malnourished children. In last few years several incidences happened in which anganwadi children had to loose their life due to wrong medicines.

Photo courtsey megsocialwelfare.gov.in

Recently a year and half old child was died because a pill stuck in her throat. There several such incidences. Registered pharmacist unions have several times written to authorities but all went vain.( Anne-68). The list of such incidences is shocking ( Anne – 68A)

The WCD do not have proper mechanism to decide actual need of medicine. It seems that minister has stepped into medical practitioners shoes. last year tender was called but no purchase was made. But while giving orders terms of tenders were changed.To enable contractor to bring in limit of rate of medicine quantity of some items was reduced for benefit of contractor. Contract worth six crore awarded ( Anne -64 ) .Priest pharmaceuticals to whom this contract was awarded doesn’t have manufacturing unit.

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Magic plastic Mats of Aladdins in Mantralaya, Maharashtra Chikki scam part 9

This is another case of dirty nexus between officials of WCD and contractors.As per media reports a company whom this contract was awarded was closed since last many years and was actually in business of school benches and pipes.

Photo Courtsey blog.ocweely.com

 

Even then this closed unit participated in tender process started by industry department. Nobody in industry department took pains to ask about companies credentials because they were hand in gloves with scammers. Interestingly this non existing company was successful in bagging plastic mat Rate contract. And then Aladdin's in Maharashtra mantralaya produced a magic plastic carpet in a factory that doesn't exist .

On Saturday 7 the February 2015 industry department sent a letter to Bhawani industries , jintur parbhani 500 km away from Mumbai to sign a rate contract. (Anne -44 )  8th was Sunday. On 9th on behalf on behalf this non existent company somebody gave confirmation to sign rate contract. On 11 February   Rate contract for plastic mats was signed. On 12th it gave proposal to purchase Plastic mats  to commissioner WCD ( Anne -45 ). On 13 February commissioner WCD wrote a letter principle secretary to purchase plastic mats worth 1,80,62, 244. Same day minister approved proposal to purchase mats worth  (Anne -46)





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