August 6, 2019
Faridabad is one of the largest Satellite Towns of New Delhi. It has vast scale Industries as well as Residential Development. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister has also identified Faridabad to be one of the smart city of NCR. Ajay Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. (AEPL), which is a part of Eros Group of Companies, was granted a License bearing No. 20 of 2013 by Director General, Town & Country Planning, Haryana to develop a Group Housing Colony on the project land admeasuring 52.825 acres at Sector 43, Faridabad.
Ajay Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. (AEPL) had also entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Bharti Realty Ltd., which is Airtel Group Company. Everybody was hoping that this development would have brought world class Housing very close to Delhi border at a reasonable price. However, the said Project became a target of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed before the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal (NGT).
In March, 2019, the NGT had passed an order declaring the project land to be a “Deemed Forest”. Since then AEPL filed a Petition before Hon’ble Supreme Court of India wherein the Bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman was pleased to order that all permissions granted to AEPL for its proposed project were to remain valid.
Mr. Avneesh Sood, Director, EROS Group said, “Recently, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has seized the matter while admitting the Appeal filed by the land owners i.e. Eros Group, as well as, State of Haryana and ordered that the permissions granted to the project not to be cancelled. If India is to grow and generate more jobs, then our Courts must stop giving judgments merely on public perceptions on the behest of so–called Environmentalists.”
He further added, “We have to find a middle path wherein human lives can be benefitted from the environment and vice–versa. Stalling projects, with all legitimate permissions, will create not only a fear factor among the business fraternity, but also discourage them to venture into new projects.”
Being in close vicinity of Delhi, Faridabad attracted heavy investments and created jobs with large scale industrial houses like Escorts, Goodyear besides setting up of several Medium Scale and Small Scale establishments in the said town. The Project land is surrounded by fully developed housing projects on all sides. In the same circumstances, the project land has been a part of the residential zone as per the successive master plans issued since 1982 after due process of law and after inviting objections from the public.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has long been a saviour of the environment and has truly set an agenda for environment conservation. However, of late it has also become a destination of choice of so-called public spirited litigants, who have been approaching this Forum merely for the sake of publicity and for some time even with intent of extortion. Majority of such PILs are meant to settle business scores or to cripple opponents. One such example is the project of Bharti Realty Limited at Sector-43, Faridabad. Bharti Realty Ltd., which is Airtel Group Company, had planned development of Vertical Smart City with ultra-modern amenities. The said project had all Licenses and successive Clearances from the State Forest Department dated 08.11.2006, 10.11.2010, 17.05.2013 & 23.06.2017. However, it came in under heavy cross-fire before NGT when it was saddled with a PIL filed by one Lt. Col. (Retd.) Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi.
A letter dated 08.11.2006 was issued by the Deputy Conservator of Forest (Faridabad) to the Director Town and Country Planning (Govt. of Haryana) wherein it is an uncontroverted fact that, “The subject land is neither a protected, reserved, recorded or unclassified forest.” It also clearly states that the land is neither notified under Section 4 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act,1900 (‘PLP Act,1900’) nor previously closed under the said Act by a special order. Several reputed Builders like DLF, Eros Group, BPTP, Omaxe, etc. executed their Residential Projects in Faridabad making it an ideal destination of middle class residents of NCR. Being in close vicinity of South Delhi, Faridabad soon turned into an ideal home buyer’s destination. Ever since 1982, the Government had been conscious of the fact that Faridabad was located in close vicinity of Aravalli foothills.
Documents with the Company in its revert to PIL further proves that the land falls within the revenue estate of Village Sarai Khawaja which is part of Faridabad Master Plan for more than 35 years, whereby it has been indicated as Sector 43 which has been categorized in the residential zone of Master Plan of 1981 onwards till date. It is further important to state that the subject land forming part of the Sector 43 has been categorized in the Residential Zone of Master Plan of 2011 and also in the draft Master Plan of 2031. Thus, the subject land cannot be classified to be as Forest.
The Company has also been granted Environment Clearance with regards the project land on 29.05.2014 by the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Haryana, Panchkula and the public notice in respect thereof was published in the Times of India, New Delhi Edition dated 05.06.2014 and the same is available on the website of the Company since June, 2014. The said Environment Clearance was subsequently also revised on 02.09.2016 and has been stalled because of a PIL.
About Eros Group
Eros Group is a Real Estate giant in India. It is a well-known Construction Company with special strength in and around Delhi. With over half a century of proficiency and experience, it is known for its quality and distinction. The Group has created some of the most pioneering episodes of Real Estate promotion and town planning in the country for over 50 years. Started with properties worth Rs. 13,000 in 1940s, the Group now boasts of having projects worth over 1000 crores in the pipeline. With time, the Group has also ventured in various other sectors than Real Estate and proved its forte in all the new sectors.