Almost seven months after the Chief Minister set a 45-day deadline for securing environment clearance for the first phase of the SmartCity project, the promoters are finally set to get it this week.
The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) had given an in-principle environment clearance to the first phase of the project at its previous meeting held on July 19. Sources told The Hindu environment clearance will be issued once the SEIAA meeting scheduled for Friday approves the minutes of the last meeting. It will then be forwarded to the Principal Secretary for Environment whose signature will give the official stamp to the clearance.
“The proceedings of State environment authority will then be forwarded to the project proponents complete with the conditions subject to which the environment clearance has been issued,” a source said.
The district administration will have to monitor whether these conditions are adhered to. The district collector can take action if any condition is violated.
The Dubai-based promoters have fulfilled the formalities on their part to be eligible for environment clearance. “We were supposed to file an affidavit with the SEIAA vouching to comply with the conditions put forth by them, which we did last Saturday,” said Baju George, managing director of SmartCity (India).
He said land development works for the first phase of the project were progressing in full pace at the site in Edachira near Kakkanad.
“We are going ahead with the objective of readying the building and handing over the space to our tenants by the end of next year for fit out,” Mr. George said.
Environment clearance had been a nagging bother to the promoters of the project after the State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC), the recommending body to SEIAA, had deferred its recommendation for environmental clearance for the first phase citing the absence of a specific environmental management plan and many factual errors in the application.
Another deadline of 45 days for securing environment clearance set by the Chief Minister on January 31 also failed. In fact, even a fresh application was not filed more than a month-and-a-half after that announcement, citing the need to effect significant changes in the design of the first building. Though a fresh application was supposed to be filed in April, it was eventually done on June 15.
SEAC recommended environment clearance for the first phase of the project to the SEIAA at a meeting held on July 6.