New Delhi, June 10: In fresh trouble for Lavasa, Environment Ministry today said part of constructions had been undertaken at its hill project in Pune without green nod and asked Maharashtra Government to take necessary action against it.
In a letter to the Maharashtra Government today, the Union Ministry said that during an appraisal of request for green clearance for the development of 2000 hectares Hill Station Township “it was found that constructions/developments in 681 hectare area was in progress without obtaining prior environmental clearance.”
Noting that it had earlier issued showcause notices on November 25 last year and “final directions” on January 17 this year, the Ministry said the constructions/developments in the 681 hectare area “are violations” of Environment (Protection) Act 1986.
The Union Ministry asked the state Environment Ministry to “initiate necessary action” under the Act “against the violation of Act”.
The state government has been asked to inform the Union Ministry about the action taken at the earliest. The action comes even as the Environment Ministry prepares to make known its decision on the phase-I of the controversial project on June 15 when the matter comes up in Bombay High Court.
“Whatever we have to say will be presented in HC (High Court) on June 15,” Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told PTI when asked about the fate of the project. The Ministry will take a decision on the basis of a report of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), which has recommended conditional approval to Lavasa Corporation, a subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC). Ramesh said EAC, set up by the Ministry, has made recommendations but those have a “very large number of conditions” attached to them.
“The full picture will be presented to the Court,” he said.
When asked about Lavasa's statement welcoming EAC recommendations, Ramesh said, “Any welcome or criticism is, therefore, premature and could well be misplaced.” Earlier in the day, HCC's Chairman and Managing Director, Ajit Gulabchand, said in Mumbai that the Expert Appraisal Committee has recommended clearances for Lavasa's first phase of 2,000 hectares-hill town project with “some conditions”.
Lavasa also issued a statement in New Delhi welcoming the Ministry decision. PTI