The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has refused to vacate its 2015 order, restraining construction and transfer of possession of flats on the Yamuna floodplains in Agra, after two builders sought lifting of the ban. A bench headed by justice RS Rathore said that even if the builders have transferred the flat to the purchasers, it does not entitle them to file an application for vacating the interim order passed in the year 2015, as the matter is still pending.
“After considering the aforesaid application, as well as the reply filed to it by the original applicant, we are of the considered opinion that there is no just reason to grant any of the reliefs prayed by the applicant, at this stage,” the bench said. The tribunal said the site inspection reports are against the builders, with respect to the location of the construction on the floodplain of river Yamuna at Agra.
The order came on pleas filed by Agra builders Kalyani Buildwell Pvt Ltd and Ganpati Infrastructure Development Company Ltd, seeking lifting of the June 6, 2015 ban ordered by the NGT. In its order, the tribunal had said, “We restrain any further construction, occupancy or transfer of possession of the built-up structure, by the builders to any parties. They would not further create third-party interest. We direct the SEIAA, Agra Development Authority and the UP Pollution Control Board, to conduct a joint inspection of these buildings, in addition to the buildings which are otherwise located in the floodplain area.”
The NGT had earlier come down heavily on the Agra Development Authority (ADA), for allowing construction by builders on the floodplains of river Yamuna and also sought response from the developers on the matter. It had slammed the Uttar Pradesh government and public authorities in Agra, for ‘improper’ demarcation of the Yamuna floodplains and fixation of pillars, saying that 85 per cent of the buildings on the riverbed were liable to be demolished.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by Umashankar Patwa and Shabi Haider Jafri, who had alleged that many buildings had been built right in the floodplain and even in the river itself. The tribunal had earlier issued notice to these builders, asking why compensation in terms of Section 15 and 17 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, should not be imposed on them and why appropriate directions were not passed, regarding their structures which were violative of environmental laws.