THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Green Tribunal full bench chaired by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goyal, former Judge, Supreme Court of India has served an order to the government of Kerala represented by the Thiruvananthapuram District Collector to take immediate action on the alleged mass destruction of wetland and filling of a 10-acre pond under the phase 3 development of Technopark.
The NGT has taken action following an email complaint filed to it by Thomas Lawrence, an engineer and an environmentalist. He complained to the tribunal after repeated pleas to the District Collector as well as other authorities regarding the filling of wetlands and the pond within the premises of Technopark phase 3, failed to evoke any response. The NGT in its order issued on December 19, 2018, directed the Collector to respond within a month.
Speaking to Express, Thomas said, “This is a blatant violation of the Environment and Wetland rule and I had repeatedly complained to the District Collector but of no avail. Hence I sent a petition to the National Green Tribunal by email to which it has given an order for immediate action.”
The Attipra agriculture officer in a letter to the Collector mentioned that the request for filling of land in the Technopark phase 3 cannot be complied with as it falls under the notified marked area and the pond cannot be filled under any case.
“It is not a pond, but an area that was waterlogged during the rain. There was paddy land which was converted and provided for development,” Revenue Additional Chief Secretary P H Kurien told Express.
When contacted, Chief Secretary Tom Jose said, “I am not aware of the National Green Tribunal order. I will check and find out about the same”. District Collector K Vasuki was unavailable for comment.
According to Sanjeev E J, Director of Environment Research and Protection Council, “There is a blatant violation of the environmental acts and the government and district administration did not comply with the mandatory regulations. The Green Tribunal order is a major slap on the actions of the administration. The environment is being misused disturbing the ecosystem in totality.”
Taurus Investment Holdings Pvt Ltd, a US-based realtor company had won the Swiss Challenge bid to develop 1,500 crore Taurus downtown project in Technopark phase 3. It did not directly enter into an agreement with Technopark but its subsidiaries namely Winterfell Realty Private Ltd, Dome Realty Private Ltd and Dragone Stone Reality Private Ltd signed the agreement.