The Union Environment Ministry is likely to issue a show cause notice to the scam-hit Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai soon, now that it has proof that the building’s promoters never even applied for an environmental clearance, either at State level or central level.

On Thursday, the Ministry received documents relating to the Adarsh building from the Maharashtra urban development department, and is wading through the large amounts of paperwork. However, senior officials said that none of this paperwork includes any application for an environmental clearance from the housing society’s promoters.

Blatant violation

The Adarsh building is 31-storeys tall, in blatant violation of coastal zone regulations that permit only a six-storey building in that area. The MoEF show cause notice could ask why the government should not order that the building be demolished.

“If it had been a case where they had permission to build six storeys and then they built higher, we could ask them to demolish the top storeys [above the sixth floor]. But in this case, they have not even applied for permission for the six storeys in the first place, so where is the question of any clearance for the rest?The building itself is completely unauthorised,” said a senior official.

The no-objection certification mentioned in a letter from the urban development department to the municipal council seems to refer to issues of town planning and classification of land use, rather than any kind of coastal environmental issues, said a senior official. In any case, an NOC is only a “neutral permission to apply, not a positive go-ahead signal,” he said.