New Delhi: The Environment Ministry Thursday washed its hands off the alleged irregularities in the controversial Adarsh Housing Cooperative Society in Mumbai and sought to blame Maharashtra Government for the violation of coastal regulation zones.
In a bid to make it clear that it never gave green nod to the Society, the ministry released a statement here referring to details of the communication undertaken way back in 2003 with the Maharashtra Urban Development Department which had sought queries on clearances.
The letter to the state government says, "It is noted that the proposed residential complex falls within the Coastal Regulation Zone -II area. This Ministry (environment) has already delegated the powers to the concerned State Government for undertaking development in CRZ-II.
"Accordingly, the proposed construction may be taken up as per the CRZ Notification, 1991 (as amended from time to time) and the approved revised CZ Management Plan of Greater Mumbai."
The Ministry, which has sought a report from the state government in the matter, has also refuted reports that it had issued a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) on 11th March 2003 to the society for construction of a residential building.
In this context, the Ministry, pointed out that the power to issue CRZ clearance was withdrawn in April, 2003 in respect of projects costing more than Rs 5 crores as the "state governments were misutilising the powers and permitting constructions in non-permissible area."
Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society, which was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows, was converted into a 31-storey tower through alleged collusion of bureaucrats, politicians and top defence officers.
Under CRZ rules, the height of the building had to be restricted to 30 metres whereas the current height of the controversial building is evidently 100 metres or more, with 31 floors and 124 flats.
Preliminary investigation by the state environment department has suggested that the urban development department and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had approved the proposal in blatant violation of CRZ rules in collaboration with the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC).