SC allows construction in forest areas after depositing NPV
New Delhi: Real Estate Developers and
builders in Mumbai today got a relief from the Supreme Court
which allowed them to go ahead with their projects in forest
areas provided they have deposited the Net Present Value (NPV)
of the land with Maharashtra government.
The apex court recorded names of the developers and
builders, who have paid the NPV and have conceded as an
interim measure that the land in question are in forest areas,
to commence the construction activity.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and
Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan said the interim order
allowing construction activity is subject to the outcome of
the pending petitions before it.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati said the developers can
be allowed to complete the project subject to the Ministry of
Environment and Forest (MoEF) permitting the alleged forest
land to be used as non-forest land on payment of the NPV.
Earlier, the court had granted three weeks to parties
to pay the NPV to Maharashtra government as evaluated by the
Central Empowered Committee (CEC) for carrying out
construction activities on the alleged forest land.
However, the Bench said that before depositing the
NPV, the builders will have to concede as an interim measure
that the land in question are in forest areas.
Leading developers Godrej and Boyce, Nanabhai
Jeejeebhoy, Atithi Builders, Normal Lifestyle and Nirmal
Developers and residents have challenged the Bombay High Court
judgement which had held certain land as private forest land.
The apex court said NPV has to be deposited as per the
recommendation of the CEC which had categorised the land in
question into four categories.
The Bench had said those who want to deposit NPV
should do so with the state government which would consider
the category under which the affected parties fell. However,
it said this would be without any prejudice to the parties.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked Maharashtra
government to maintain status quo with regard to huge tracts
of land that were declared as 'private forests.'
The CEC had recommended that areas acquired under the
Private Forest Act be allowed for non-forestry use,
dereservation and private ownership on payment of an amount
equal to the NPV applicable for the adjoining forest area.