Mumbai: Environment minister Jairam Ramesh spoke in an interview about how the Adarsh building violated coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms and what impact this could have. Edited excerpts:

Does this set a precedent for other similar CRZ violations?

Tough stand: Jairam Ramesh says not knowing the law cannot be an excuse for not following it.Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Why should the entire structure be pulled down when the argument was that the first six floors were legal?

The inquiry has brought out that the building never sought CRZ permissions even for its basic six floors, so the question of retaining it does not arise. The structure has violated the rules put forth in the CRZ notification, 1991. That they did not know of the law cannot be considered an excuse for not following law.

How is the state government going to implement the order since there is a legal dispute over the occupation certificate issue?

That is not under my purview and there was no prejudice in my decision. That is for the state government and the defence ministry to figure out, and also the law will take its own course.

So, is there no escape route for Adarsh?

My brief was related to the structure and CRZ violations and my decision is that the building will be brought down in its entirety, within three months, and the area restored to the way it was before Adarsh stood on that land. It is an open and shut case as far as MoEF (ministry of environment and forests) is concerned.

How will this order affect other big projects under the scanner, such as Lavasa?

I don’t want to comment on the order on Lavasa since the matter is sub judice. We will file our reply to the court on Monday.

Hindustan Times