ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Diminishing Values

Two of the Tata Group’s Housing Projects Are Mired in Controversy

The Tata Group, which claims to be among India’s most prestigious and ethical corporate conglomerates, has become embroiled in controversies relating to two housing projects. The projects being set up by Tata Value Homes and Tata Housing in north India diminish the group’s claim to the moral high ground.

The documents on which this story is based were obtained by the editor of the Economic and Political Weekly.

The Tata Group is one of Indias oldest and most prestigious corporate conglomerates. It is seen as a group that seeks to operate ethically, within the law, and for the betterment of society and the country. Approximately, 66% of the equity capital of Tata Sons, one of the groups promoter holding companies, is claimed to be held by various philanthropic trusts endowed by members of the Tata family (Tata Trusts). Every employee of the Tata Group is required to pledge their adherence to the Tata code of conduct which is supposed to serve as the ethical road map for Tata employees and companies, and provide the guidelines by which the group conducts its businesses (Tata Group). However, two recent cases involving Tata Value Homes and Tata Housing, both Tata Group companies, diminish the groups claim to the ethical and moral high ground.

The first instance relates to Tata Camelot Housing Colony, a project that the Tata Housing Development Company Limited (Tata HDCL) was to set up in the outskirts of Chandigarh. This project was cancelled by the Delhi High Court in a judgment pronounced on 12 April. The court held the project illegal on multiple grounds. First, the court said, the land that had been allocated for the project formed a part of the catchment area of the Sukhna Lake and the project risked causing irreversible damage to a fragile ecosystem. The court further found that the project had been granted permission by the local nagar panchayat (urban local body) on the basis of a development plan that failed to take into account the duty of the state government under the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 to preserve the catchment area of Sukhna Lake and its duty to control urban development in the periphery of Chandigarh imposed by the Punjab New Capital Periphery (Control) Act, 1952. Lastly, the court found that the project had been erroneously granted environmental clearance by the Punjab State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority when it did not have the authority to do so.

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Published On : 27th Feb, 2024

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