Kerala HC Issues Notice On PIL Challenging Lulu Mall Construction at Akkulam [Read Order]
The High Court of Kerala has issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation challenging the construction of a shopping mall by Lulu International Shopping Mall Pvt Ltd at Akkulam in Thiruvananthapuram district.
The petitioner M K Salim, a Kollam resident, alleges that environmental clearance has been illegally granted for the project.
According to the petitioner, the proposed mall has a carpet area of 2, 32,400 square meters. Environmental clearance for projects having area above 1,50,000 square meters has to be granted by Ministry of Environment and Forests. However, the construction is proceeding on the basis of clearance granted by the Kerala State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority.
As per the 2006 EIA notification, the SEIAA has jurisdiction only over projects having area up to 1,50,000 square meters. Therefore, the petitioner alleges that the environmental clearance granted to the project is illegal.
Apart from that, the petition states that the construction is being made in areas sensitive to defense interests, and also to ecologically fragile wetlands.
"The construction site is close to very sensitive Defence and Research Institutions of Government of India which are very critical to our National security like ISRO, BRAHMOS, SOUTHERN AIR COMMAND and Civil Aerodromes etc. But in page 6 of the EC at Sl.No. 3 it is stated that the Military area, Pangode is 12 Km away without mentioning the aforementioned very sensitive defense installations. Apart from the above, the construction is carried on in an Ecologically sensitive wetlands and the construction site falls under CR ZONE III. This construction will be a disaster for the Ecology of the land and by concreting the whole plinth area will result in acute drinking water crises in and around the city. It will be a total Ecological disaster as the land where the construction is going ahead is a water storage land which is a gift of the nature, and if allowed to concrete the whole land then there is every possibility of over flooding the area during heavy rains and the State does not have the capacity to bear another flood like the earlier one.", stated the petition filed through Advocate C Unnikrishnan.
As the reason for directly approaching the High Court, the petitioner cited that the NGT bench at Chennai was not sitting for the past five months.
On Thursday, the division bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar issued notice to the respondents in the petition. Notice by special messenger is ordered to be served on Lulu. The matter is posted next on July 25.