The National Green Tribunal, Southern Bench, on Friday reserved its order on an appeal against the environmental clearance given for the conversion of the new secretariat-cum-Assembly building into multi-super speciality hospital at Omandurar Government Estate.

The Tribunal’s Bench comprising its judicial member, Justice M. Chockalingam and expert member R. Nagendran, heard submissions by the appellant’s senior counsel P. Wilson and the government side led by Advocate General A. Navaneethakrisnan. On January 24, the Madras High Court dismissed the writ petition filed by advocate R. Veeramani challenging the policy decision of government to convert the structure. The verdict was later upheld by the Supreme Court. A referral unit commenced at the site.

However, following an application by the appellant, the NGT granted an interim injunction restraining the authorities from commencing any hospital activities until the disposal of appeal. Immediately, the Tribunal took up the hearing on the appeal from last Thursday.

The appellant side contended that the environmental clearance granted by State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority dated last May 16 was flawed. If the hospital is allowed to commence at the disputed site as per the environmental clearance, it would cause huge impact on the environment.

The government side countered that the appellant has no locus standi to file the appeal and there was no legal impediment for the Authority to grant EC for conversion.

There was no suppression of facts while presenting application to the Authority. The AG also submitted that the government was committed to rendering super-speciality medical facilities to people who could not afford to go to private hospital.

With bona fide intention, the government proposed to commence the hospital at the building.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Justice M. Chockalingam asked the appellant why he had not mentioned in his appeal how the environment would be affected due to setting up of the hospital and how he was personally affected by it.