Punjab and Haryana High Court orders banning mining in Punjab and Haryana without environment clearance has left both builders and the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation jittery. They apprehend major problems in construction work in the near future.
It seems the conflict is between the safety of the environment and the compulsions of development. The high court orders will help everyone in the long run. But builders and contractors in charge of developmental work have the short term to worry about.
In a bid to check illegal mining across the country, the Supreme Court had recently made environmental clearance mandatory for quarries below five hectares too, which were exempt earlier. On Friday, the Punjab and Haryana high Court ordered a complete ban on quarries which do not have environmental clearance.
A large number of builders in Zirakpur and Mohali not only apprehend major hike in construction cost but also delays in completion of projects. They point out that the price of construction material doubled when mining was banned for one year in Punjab and Haryana.
Builders apprehend a double whammy of losses caused due to increase in prices of properties which have already been booked plus the burden of penalties to be paid for delay in construction. Under the clause, which is mandatory as per GMADA rules, builders are required to pay penalty per square feet each month.
Municipal Corporation authorities are also concerned about the impact on ongoing and upcoming projects. Construction of a flyover in Sector 17 near Hotel Taj has begun while construction of a multistoried parking lot is about to start. Non availability of construction material may hold up projects. But then, the consequences of damage to the environment would be even harsher. Looks like tough choices are in order.
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