‘Building could face demolition'

The fate of the Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai is likely to be announced on Friday, with the Union Environment Ministry prepared to indict the controversial 31-storey structure for its “blatant” violation of coastal zone norms, according to senior Ministry officials.

The building could be facing demolition, although officials were careful to indicate that “all options are still open.”

When issuing the initial show-cause two months ago, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said: “All options, except regularisation, are on the table.”

The building is located in a coastal zone where a maximum of nine storeys are permitted. However, the Ministry says Adarsh promoters never got a coastal zone clearance at all, from either the State or Central government.

The society has denied this allegation, saying requisite permission was taken from the State's Urban Development Department, and citing a letter sent by the Union Environment Ministry as no-objection certification.

In the light of the alleged violation of the Coastal regulation Zone notification of 1991, the Ministry issued the show-cause notice to the housing society in November 2010, asking “why the unauthorised structure should not be removed forthwith.”

The society submitted its final reply to the Ministry earlier this week, and a decision will be announced on Friday.

Apart from its environmental problems, Adarsh is the subject of a CBI probe into how senior officers from the armed forces, politicians, and bureaucrats were allotted flats in a society meant for Kargil widows and martyrs' families.