IIT-M had submitted applications for impact assessment after controversy over unapproved buildings on its campus

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal on Wednesday directed the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to complete impact assessment for Indian Institute of Technology–Madras (IIT-M) within a fortnight.

IIT-M had submitted the applications for impact assessment after the recent controversy over unapproved buildings on the campus.

The NGT is hearing the case by activist E. Seshan against buildings being constructed in the ecologically-sensitive area adjoining Guindy National Park.

Last month, NGT directed Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to consider the application seeking permission for the construction of hostels in the IIT-M campus.

Following this, CMDA submitted a status report stating it had forwarded the recommendations of the multi-storeyed building (MSB) panel to the government for necessary action. The orders are awaited.

The matter was posted for final hearing on July 2. However, during the hearing, IIT’s counsel said the impact assessment for the entire campus is in the final stages and is expected to be completed in a month. He sought adjournment of the case until the impact assessment is completed.

However, the counsel for applicant M. Santhanaraman said environmental clearance cannot be granted since the construction has already been completed without getting the certificate. The tribunal said it is up to SEIAA to consider whether to grant the clearance or not.

The bench comprising Justice M. Chockalingam and expert member R. Nagendran passed the order keeping in mind the education of students and ongoing admissions.

The case has been adjourned to July 18 and all parties concerned have been directed to submit the status reports.