The Punjab and Haryana High Court today disposed of the public interest litigation filed by a Chandigarh resident against the coming up of Tata Camelot Project near Sukhna Lake. The court held that the provisions of both Periphery Control Act and Punjab Regional and Town planning and Development Act, 1995 have to be complied with.
The division bench of Punjab and Haryana high court, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gagoi and Justice Mahesh Grover, has made it clear that both Periphery Control Act and Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995 were complementary to each other and the respondents will have to comply with all the requirements under the two statutes.
The bench also held that requirement of clearance under Wildlife Protection Act and Environment Protection Act was also contended earlier. The Bench made it clear that the process of grant of such clearances was already pending before the concerned authorities. The clearances will now have to be brought to its logical conclusions, considering the observations of the bench, judgment further stated.
In a PIL filed before the high court, petitioner Aalok Jagga had raised issue of permissibility of a housing project Tata Camelot. Jagga had contended that the project was in violation of Punjab New Capital Periphery Control Act. Various permissions and sanctions, under the act, required for commissioning of project had not been obtained even though the process of sale had already started.
Jagga had also contended that the project was within the catchment area of Sukhna lake and was in close proximity of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. Jagga further argued that the project ran counter to the edict of Chandigarh as visualized by its founder and could adversely affect the claim of Chandigarh on the status of heritage city, which was pending.
The counsel for the company and other respondents stated that provisions of periphery control act would cease to have any application to the site as the master plan has been drawn up for the area.1
During the resumed hearing of the PIL against Tata Camelot project, Chandigarh’s senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal straightway stated that the master plan was not made for the residents of Nayagaon. It was prepared keeping the Tata firm in mind.
Claiming that the Chandigarh administration had been sidetracked, Kaushal said that Chandigarh was not taken on board while preparing the master plan. The matter did not go to the coordination committee.
Kaushal also read out a letter written by then prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru to then Punjab chief minister, Partap Singh Kairon. The letter stated that on the east of Sukhna Lake, an army cantonment had been planned, which had been opposed by Le Carbousier. Later, a meeting was held and it was only then site of the cantonment was shifted to eastern side of Mansa Devi temple.
Describing Chandigarh as a “jewel” and the “dream project of the first prime minister”, Kaushal said it was being “destroyed”. “The states of Punjab and Haryana should come to protect it”.2