The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata, imposed an interim halt on Tuesday on the construction of a multi-level PPP project in Gangtok’s Old West Point School area.
We direct that construction in the area be halted until the next date of listing, with reference to the multi-level car parking-cum-shopping hub in the area in question, ordered the NGT bench during the hearing heard via video conferencing.
The case is scheduled to be heard again on March 2, 2022. The tribunal was responding to a petition filed by Dr. Bina Basnett challenging the alleged illegal construction of the multi-level complex in the town’s heart.
It was argued that the multi-level complex under construction is 14 storeys high, which is “wholly impermissible.”
According to the Sikkim government’s existing rules, as stated in its 2021 notification, a maximum of five and a half storeys are permissible based on the stability of the notified area.
“…as per the notification, no construction can be more than 5 12 storeys in height at any time, whereas the construction of multilevel parking under construction is to the extent of 14 storeys, which is wholly impermissible,” the petitioner stated.
It was also claimed that Sikkim is in seismic zone IV and is prone to earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 4.5 to 5.5 on the Richter Scale.
According to the petitioner, a 14-story parking complex poses a serious threat to the area’s fragile ecology as well as the lives and limbs of the people who live there.
The NGT bench, which issued notices to the respondents, which included the Centre and the Sikkim government, stated that the matter “requires consideration in our opinion.”
All respondents were given four weeks to file their counter-affidavits. The contentious complex in the old West Point School area is being developed as a PPP model with the State government by a Siliguri-based company.
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