The Western Naval Command (WNC), which objected to the development of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society citing security reasons, has been taken to court for neglecting security concerns and granting a No-Objection Certificate to the construction of two highrises within striking distance of INS Trata, a sensitive missile battery base at Worli.
Subodh Khochare, a local resident, filed a petition in the Bombay high court against the office of Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, the flag officer commanding-in-chief, WNC, and the ministry of defence among other respondents, for allegedly “manipulating facts” and overlooking security concerns along the sensitive installation while permitting construction at these sites. The two highrises, both taller than the 31-storey Adarsh CHS, are being set up as free sale components in adjoining SRA projects on Sasmira Marg, Worli.
In his petition, which has been placed before the chief justice, Khochare contended that facts were distorted to grant construction permission to the two buildings even though these were located within the stipulated 300 m distance from naval land. Following the naval NOC, which was issued on June 19, 2009, the BMC granted construction permission to the over 200-m tall buildings.
The WNC has, however, refuted all charges.in its reply to the petition. Commodore Satish Bajaj, replying on Bhasin’s behalf, termed the petition as misconceived, mischievous, not maintainable and without material basis.
The petitioner has alleged that the naval authorities connived with the builders of the two projects to show these structures as being outside the notified zone. (the danger area). The Trata location has five naval sites (plots). For security purposes, The The state urban development department, on the navy’s insistence, issued a circular on June 23, 2008, which made an NOC from the navy mandatory for construction projects located within 300 metres north of South I to V, south of Site V, south of plots 1 to 7, and south-east of South-II. An NOC was also insisted upon for areas located within 50 meters in remaining areas.
Filed by lawyer Y P Singh, Khochare’s petition claims that while measuring the distance of the projects from the installations, measurements were not taken from the nearest site but the farthest one. The petition adds that while one of the buildings was within 151 m south-east of Site-II, the second was 119 m from Site-II. WNC has, however, claimed that the NOCs were given in confirmation with the guidelines and requirement of the navy. with regard to the distance of the proposed buildings from the naval sites.
The navy grants or refuses to accord an NOC for construction based on the degree to which the naval sites are visible from the topmost level of the buildings proposed to be constructed. Although the NOC is for lateral distance, there is an element of elevation as well. In other words, the The navy also considers the height of the building and the ground level.
WNC has claimed that while no NOC was required for the first building, which was located outside the peripheral area, the second building fell in the restricted zone -it was located within 50 m of Site II- but was the building was granted an NOC only after the building firm complied with conditions set by the navy. to prevent damage to the defence buildings. In a rejoinder opposing WNC’s reply, Khochare has cited cases of smaller buildings in the area where the NOC was denied. WNC has said that an NOC is accorded on a case-to-case basis.
-via The Times of India