Star hotel in Mahabalipuram ordered to pay Rs 10 crore fine for violating CRZ norm

Star hotel in Mahabalipuram ordered to pay Rs 10 crore fine for violating CRZ norm
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), on Friday, ordered Radisson Blu Temple Bay resort in Mahabalipuram to pay Rs 10 crore fine for violating Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms. The ruling came on a petition filed by KR Selvaraj Kumar, who is part of Meenavar Nala Sangam. As per the order, the resort shall pay the fine within two months from the date of judgment. The petition filed by Selvaraj Kumar had alleged that the resort is located in the CRZ-I and CRZ and that the operations of the resort are hampering fishing activities in the area. It was also alleged that the resort let out untreated sewage water into the sea thus causing pollution and contamination of the ground water table. The NGT had formed a committee comprising of District Collector, Chengalpet District, Pollution Control Board and District Environmental Engineer to examine the allegations put forth by the petitioner and the said committee submitted a report in December 2020 in which its observations were recorded after inspecting the resort and its premises for four days. In its observations, the committee ruled out that the resort was releasing untreated sewage water into the sea and causing pollution. It also said that there was no instance of encroachment of government land by the resort. However, the Committee flagged that the construction area of the resort had exceeded the area for which it was granted clearance by the National Coastal Zone Management Authority under CRZ norms. The extent of such illegal construction at Radisson Blu Temple Bay resorts is around 7,790 square metres. “As the said unit of M/s.GRT Hotels and Resorts Private Limited, Radisson Blu, Temple Bay has constructed the structures in the CRZ area more than the total built up area as accorded in the Clearance by the National Coastal Zone Management Authority under CRZ Notification and more than the total built up area as accorded in the Planning permission issued by the Mamallapuram New Town Development Authority,” the report said. The court also directed the resort to demolish the structures it had constructed on the ‘No Development Zone’ (staff quarters), as agreed by the resort management. Pointing out that when a law is enacted containing some provisions which prohibits certain types of activities, then, it is of utmost importance that such legal provisions are effectively enforced, the Tribunal remarked that if a law is enacted but is not being voluntarily obeyed, then, it has to be enforced. “Otherwise, infringement of law, which is actively or passively condoned for personal gain, will be encouraged which will in turn lead to a lawless society. Violation of anti-pollution laws not only adversely affects the existing quality of life but the non-enforcement of the legal provisions often results in ecological imbalance and degradation of environment, the adverse effect of which will have to be borne by the future generations,” the order said, directing Radisson Blu Temple Bay resorts to pay Rs 50,000 to the petitioner for his efforts to bring the violations to the notice of the Tribunal. 

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