Lavasa lake city project gets green clearance

Lavasa lake city project gets green clearance

The construction work was stopped on the ground of violation of green laws. The approval follows “credible action” by the Maharashtra government against the company and its promoters by filing a criminal case in the court.

Last month, the Central ministry made it clear that in the absence of any “credible actions” against Lavasa by the state government, it could not give the approval. Once the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board filed a criminal case -- considered as a credible action -- against Lavasa and some of its top management and board members, the stage was set for the clearance.

On October 20, the Bombay High Court, where a number of petitions against Lavasa is being heard, too, asked the ministry to take a decision within three weeks. The Centre’s conditional approval is only for the first phase of the work, which was stopped by then environment minister Jairam Ramesh after he received complaint regarding  flouting of environmental norms from activists.

Subsequently, the ministry set up an expert panel that reviewed all documents submitted by Lavasa. The committee visited the area for a firsthand assessment and finally recommended the project’s approval, which has finally been accepted by the ministry.
The nod comes with 47 conditions to be followed during the construction and another 10 to be obeyed during the operational phase. They include use of low-flow fixtures for showers, toilet flushing and drinking besides 40 per cent reduction in the use of glass .

Lavasa was promoted as India's first planned hill city spread over 2000 hectares of area with 60 km of lake front spanning over 7 hills, which attracted the rich and influential looking for an abode amidst hills. Out of 2000 ha, the firm carried out construction in 681.27 ha areas without obtaining proper approvals.