A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said principle of ''sustainable development'' requires that all development activities must be undertaken consistent with the environmental concerns.
“We direct the State of Tamil Nadu and the Corporation to revisit the project in the light of observations of the expert Committee. They are free to consider the views of IIT, Chennai and other expert Institutions like the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore,” the bench said.
The tribunal said that in case it is decided to go ahead with the project with suitable changes, the corporation may proceed further only after statutory Costal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance granted.
“Before granting CRZ Clearance, CZMA may issue appropriate ToRs (Terms of Reference) to enable Environment Management Plan to be prepared to mitigate the adverse consequences of damage to the environment,” the bench said.
The NGT said that such plan may be duly appraised while granting the CRZ Clearance.
“In view of statement of Advocate General that there is an interim order on the issue of CRZ clearance, this order will be subject to any such order.
“Further work of the project may be undertaken only after decision on re-visiting the project is finalised and CRZ clearance is granted as above,” the bench said.
The green panel also expressed displeasure against the officers of the corporation for undertaking the work in violations of the stop work order and without requisite CRZ clearance.
“We also give liberty to the concerned authorities including the Environment Ministry to take action for the violations in undertaking work,” the bench said in its September 6 order said.
However, since it has been found that no substantial work has been executed in violation of the stop work order, we are not inclined to award compensation, the NGT said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Chennai resident Sajith, Juhu Beach Residents Association, Uthandi and others relating to viability of the project of Storm Water Drains (SWD) within M3 watershed of Kovalam Basin in Panaiyur, Chennai.
According to applicants, the the proposed drain will be a hazard to environment and is futile exercise.
Though the object is to prevent water stagnation, there is no possibility of same happening having regard to the flat terrain areas of the city, the plea said.