Adarsh building demolition plan hailed

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Old 18-Jan-2011
Adarsh building demolition plan hailed

Mumbai: The union environment minister's order to demolish the controversial Adarsh Housing Society structure within three months for violating Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules has been welcomed by many Mumbaikars.

People also see a glimmer of hope since the state plans to set up a committee seeking complaints against CRZ violations and submit it before the Centre.

Activists of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), which exposed the Adarsh scam, are relieved that Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of Environment and Forests (MoEF), took a decision to call for the demolition of the building "which has become a symbol of corruption by the nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and builders in recent times," says Medha Patkar who heads the NAPM.

"The MoEF's decision is fully legal and should pave the way for similar action in other cases such as Lavasa," Patkar said.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's spokesperson, Madhav Bhandari, however, does not think the minister has taken a big decision as "the only thing left before the ministry was to demolish the structure".

"Adarsh Society had crossed all limits in flouting the rules and in such a situation demolition is mandatory," Bhandari said.

However, Bhagwanji Rayani, a judicial activist who heads the Janhit Manch, an organisation that has filed 55 public interest litigations, believes the 31-storey structure should be confiscated by the government and given back to the public.

Illegal means

"Demolishing it would result in a waste of all the construction material that has gone into it. All those who were involved in ensuring this building came up through illegal means should be prosecuted."

Ramesh, who issued the order on Sunday, said the ministry had three options: removal of the entire structure since it is unauthorised; removal of that part of the structure in excess of the floor space index that might have been allowed had permission been sought; and recommending government takeover of the building for public use to be determined later.

He argued all but the first option would have regularised a CRZ violation.

Adarsh Society plans to file a case against the order.

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