Court dismisses PIL against Tata housing project

Court dismisses PIL against Tata housing project Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday dismissed public interest litigation (PIL) against construction of a multi-storeyed housing project by the Tata Housing Development Company (THDC) in an ecologically fragile zone in Punjab, north of Chandigarh.

Disposing of the PIL, the court said that Tata Housing could go ahead with the project after obtaining necessary permissions, according to a company spokesman.

"The court has not put any other stipulations for going ahead with the project, except seeking permissions under the relevant statues," a spokesman of Tata Housing said Monday evening.

"We welcome the decision by the court which has been taken in the best interest of society at large. We assure that the manner in which the project has been planned will make it another architectural marvel.

The project is conceptualized as a Green Development - to be in total harmony with the environment. The project will proceed further after securing necessary permissions from the appropriate authorities," the spokesman said.

The land, belonging to a number of politicians and other influential people in Punjab, was sold in big chunks to the THDC in recent years. The PIL had alleged that all clearances were obtained by the THDC from the Punjab government since influential people were benefitting from selling land to the project and getting money and flats in return.

The THDC had launched its 'Camelot' project, north of Chandigarh, comprising of multi-tower, high rise apartments. The floors of some of the towers were to go up to 23 floors - a thing unheard of for any building in and around Chandigarh.

The THDC had offered luxury flats and penthouses to the politicians, from the Akali Dal, Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties in Punjab, in the towers that are to be built.

The project is located in Punjab's Mohali district. Once completed, it was to have 18 high-rise buildings with luxury flats costing a minimum of whopping 30 million.

The project was opposed by lawyers and conservationists, saying that it violated the very spirit of Chandigarh.

The controversial project is coming up in an area north of Chandigarh and is located close to the Sukhna lake wildlife sanctuary.

There were allegations that the Punjab government bent rules to give a go-ahead to the project since it had 102 Punjab politicians on board.

The highest building in Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana secretariat complex in Sector 1 here, has 10 floors. It was designed by the city's founder-architect Le Corbusier in the 1950s.

Chandigarh city, conceptualized by the first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru as a symbol of emerging, modern India was designed by French architect Le Corbusier and his team.

Making strict rules of construction in and around the city in its Master Plan, no construction activity was allowed by the planners under law in an area of 16 km around the city.

Chandigarh, a union territory, is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.

IANS