Some trouble is brewing for DB Hospitality, a sister concern of real estate firm DB Realty, following a public interest suit seeking the demolition of its Grand Hyatt Hotel in Goa.
Environment activists had petitioned the high court in Mumbai in 2010 that the property was within the 100-metre Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), where no construction was supposed to be allowed. Last week, the HC had turned down an application by the company that the case be dismissed. Instead, the HC said it would hear the suit, filed by a Goa Foundation, on April 23.
DB Hospitality said the HC order "does not change the status of the project", but the activists who filed the petition have been heartened. "If in the next hearing late this month, the court decides the property is violating the CRZ norm, then it may face demolition," said Claude Alvares of the Foundation.
A DB Hospitality spokesperson said: "The allegations are based on misinterpretation of law...The hotel is operating after the occupation certificate was granted and we have all the necessary clearances applicable as per law."
The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had notified CRZ norms in 1991. These were amended in 1994 and revised in 2011. The rule first said no construction was to be allowed within 100 metres, after which (in 1994), the 'no-construction zone' was revised to 50 metres. Later, it was again revised to 100 metres.
The Supreme Court in 2010 declared the 50-metre zone applicable to projects approved when it was in force after 1994 and said the restoration order to 100 metres would apply prospectively, not affecting completed or ongoing construction approved between August 1994 and April 1996.
"Our project was approved in 1995 and, hence, it is to be considered an ongoing project, thus upholding the stand of the MoEF and the National Coastal Zone Management Authority," according to DB Hospitality.
In 2011, MoEF had ordered demolition of the Aadarsh Housing Society in Mumbai for violating the CRZ norms.