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Demolish Adarsh Society in 3 months: Jairam Ramesh

Mumbai: In a tough decision, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Sunday recommended the demolition of the controversial Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai’s Colaba for flouting Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.

The ministry today submitted its final report on the Adarsh Society to the government and recommended three options with first one being demolition of the structure in its entirety and the other one being partial demolition of the illegally built 26 storeys. The third option suggests the government should take over the Adarsh Society.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh meanwhile favoured the first option and recommended the complete demolition of the tainted building.

“It is immaterial whether the Adarsh Society was aware of requirement to seek clearance under Coastal Regulation Zone rules. Ignorance of law can never be an excuse for non-compliance,” said Ramesh.

The Environment Ministry’s final order on Adarsh Housing Society says the “unauthorised structure” should be removed and the area restored to its original condition within three months.

The MoEF report clearly mentions the environmental norms were not followed while constructing the 31-storey housing society.

The ministry had on December 28, accepted a request from the society and extended the last date till January 4 for receiving its response on a show-cause notice asking why its 31-storey building at defence land in Mumbai’s Colaba area should not be demolished for allegedly violating green rules.

It had also made it clear that it will be the last chance for the society to give its response.

On December 27, the society had requested the ministry to postpone the hearing scheduled for December 29 citing the inordinate flight delays caused because of the “unprecedented weather conditions” and also due to non-availability of the counsels appearing on its behalf.

On January 08, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had announced a two-member judicial inquiry headed by a retired High Court judge into the irregularities in the Adarsh Housing Society.

The Adarsh Society was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil War widows. But later, investigations revealed that it was extended to 31 floors. Many bureaucrats, politicians and Army officers have been found possessing flats in this illegal structure.

Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan had to resign in the wake of the controversy erupting.

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