Bombay high court upholds stop work order on its township project
In a setback to Lavasa Corporation, the Bombay High Court has declined its request to stay the stop work order on the construction of the multi-crore township near Pune.
The Union environment ministry had issued the stop work order on November 25 saying the township project violates the Environment Protection Act. The ministry, in its order, had asked the company why it built structures between 2004 and 2006 in area that is 1,000 metres above the sea level without seeking environmental clearance. By doing so, the company has violated Section (5) of the Environmental Protection Act of 1986, the order noted. About 47 hectare of the township area is above 1,000 metre from the sea level.
The high court, however, gave some relief to the company by asking the ministry to hear the company and reconsider the status quo order. The ministry will finally decide on the matter after again hearing the company by December 31.
Touted as the first hill station since Independence, Lavasa is being developed on 5,058 hectare in the Western Ghats, 65 km from Pune. Since its inception, the project has faced allegations of land grab and involvement of politicians (see ‘Howl of the hills’, Down To Earth, September 15, 2008).
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