CAG lists violations in construction of premium apartment in Kochi

The Cochin Residential Development Project by TRIF Kochi Projects Private Limited, Ernakulam, at Marine Drive came up in violation of the provisions of the Environment Protection Act and the Coastal Regulation Zone rules, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

The entire construction of the premium apartment complex was carried out within 200 metres of High Tide Line, in violation of the conditions of Environment Clearance (EC) granted to the project. Yet, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) did not act, said the CAG in the report on conservation of coastal ecosystems.

The construction of the project began much before obtaining EC. The Environment Protection Act 1986 specifies that legal action shall be initiated against the project proponent if the construction is taken up without obtaining EC. It was in 2012 that the Chief Town Planner, Thiruvananthapuram, approved the layout of buildings and usage of the plot subject to the condition that EC should be obtained for the project, and the Kochi Municipal Corporation should ensure that construction was carried out in accordance with the CRZ notification. However, the Corporation issued building permit for the project in March 2011 and July 2012, though it got EC only in February 2016. The Ministry and the KCZMA did not take any punitive action against the violations, the CAG pointed out.

Though the clearance of the National Board for Wildlife is required for all projects within 10 km of the eco-sensitive zone of a wildlife sanctuary, no such clearance was obtained for the project, which came up within a distance of 400 metres from the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary, pointed out the national auditor.

The project proponents also failed to submit the periodic environmental statement on the project. Though the law mandates that half-yearly compliance report has to be filed by the project proponent, it had filed only three compliance reports, in place of eight reports, to the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, the audit report noted.

East Venice Hotels and Resorts Private Limited, which constructed a star hotel in Alappuzha West Village, also failed to submit the half-yearly compliance report. The project proponents constructed the basement of the building without obtaining the mandatory clearance from the State Ground Water Department, it was reported.

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 7:06:05 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cag-lists-violations-in-construction-of-premium-apartment-in-kochi/article65772114.ece