Scrap Lavasa township: petition

Pune project does not have environmental clearance from Centre

By Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava
Published: Tuesday 30 November 2010

Social activists have moved court to scrap the Lavasa township project near Pune. The public interest petition filed in the Bombay High Court says the project does not have the mandatory environmental clearance from the Union environment ministry, and hence is liable to be cancelled.

The petition alleged the Maharashtra government illegally gave environmental clearance to the project in 2004.

“Under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 1994, the Union environment ministry gives clearance. The project proponent, Hindustan Construction Corporation, a private company, took clearance from the environment department of Maharashtra,” the petitioners said.

Touted as the first hill station since Independence, Lavasa is being developed on 5,058 hectares in the Western Ghats, 65 km from Pune.

The project has been surrounded by controversies since its inception; there have been allegations of land grab and involvement of politicians (see ‘Howl of the hills’, Down To Earth, September 15, 2008). Tribals from the 18 villages whose land has been taken over for the township have been protesting the project along with activists.

“Lavasa is being built in one of the highest rainfall areas. Eleven dams have been constructed for the township and it costs more than Rs 50 crore, which means environmental clearance from the Union ministry is mandatory,” said Suniti S R, one of the petitioners.

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