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Tg Bungah tragedy: Penang govt did not interfere in project despite no DOE approval

“The DOE did not support the developer’s application to start the planning of the project because there are no sufficient buffer zones between the apartment project and the quarrying activities nearby, according to the Guidelines of Siting and Zoning of Industries and Residential Areas,” said the Department of Environment in a statement today. Pix courtesy of fire and rescue department

 

 

 

 

 

GEORGE TOWN: The Department of Environment (DOE) had previously rejected a planning permission application from the developer of the Penang housing project hit by yesterday's killer landslide.

In a statement, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said it received an application from the developer of the residential project, Taman Sri Bunga Sdn Bhd, on Jan 9, 2015 to build the apartments.

“After taking into account all the criteria, the DOE subsequently issued a letter of rejection on Jan 23, 2015,” it said.

The ministry said the development site was located right next to a granite quarry.

Teik Granite Quarry, which is a permanent granite quarry, began operations in 1960.

They performed blasting twice a month, with the last one on Oct 9 this year.

“Once the rocks are blasted loose from the hillside, they are sent to a ‘crushing’ site within the quarry where the rocks are then crushed to smaller pieces for construction use.

“The DOE did not support the developer’s application to start the planning of the project because there are no sufficient buffer zones between the apartment project and the quarrying activities nearby, according to the Guidelines of Siting and Zoning of Industries and Residential Areas,” it added.

The quarry activities, the ministry pointed out, was located only 162m away from the crushing site, and between 400m to 500m from the blasting site of the quarry.

“It is therefore not a safe and peaceful environment for people to live in.

“Furthermore, the development involves steep slopes and this requires a detailed engineering study which in turn may require Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval.

“Unfortunately, they decided to ignore our advice and went ahead with the construction with blatant disregard to the lives of their workers,” said the ministry.

The ministry said it was very disappointed by the Penang government’s lack of oversight on the project.

It noted that despite the DOE’s objections to the project from the beginning, the developer started construction works without considering the consequences.

“What is perplexing is that there was no interference from the state government which raises more questions than answers.

“The ministry would like to strongly urge the Penang government to re-examine their plans to develop any hillside project.

“We trust the government will do the right thing and prevent such incidents from happening again and work for the good of the people.

“Right now, we must focus on rescuing those trapped under the earth and helping those affected by this tragedy,” it added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source New Straits Times