Pollution board gives nod to forfeit PCMC’s bank guarantee

Civic body says not given a hearing, stay order issued after complaint.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has given its nod to forfeit Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation's (PCMC) bank guarantee amounting to Rs 10 lakh for its failure to meet necessary environmental parameters in slum rehabilitation schemes at sector 22 in Nigdi.

Shiv Sena corporator Seema Salve had moved the High Court complaining about various irregularities in the slum rehabilitation scheme in the area. In fact, portions of the building are coming under the Red Zone of the Dehu Ammunition Depot (DAD).

While giving an interim stay on the project, the High Court had also asked the district collector to demarcate the Red Zone area of the DAD.

Salve had also lodged a complaint with the MPCB highlighting various lapses in the project and non-adherence with the parameters specified in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Acting on the complaint, the board had sent a show-cause notice to the civic body drawing its attention to various lapses in the project. After receiving unsatisfactory answers, regional officer of the board A D Mohekar had written to the Bank of Baroda to forfeit the bank guarantee of the civic body.

PCMC's joint city engineer Rajan Patil said the regional officer took action without consulting the civic body.

"We were not given a hearing and we have complained to the member secretary of the pollution board. On hearing our complaint, a stay order has been issued. Once we are given a hearing, the final decision will be taken," he said.

Welcoming the move by the MPCB, Salve said the civic body had taken up all the projects in haste and flouted environmental norms.

"This is a loss to the public exchequer and the amount should be recovered from the officers responsible for the lapse," she said.

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