Environment ministry gives nod to Lavasa hill city project

The Union environment ministry granted clearance to the first phase of the Lavasa project, subject to “strict compliance” of certain terms and conditions

New Delhi: Lavasa’s multi-crore hill city project near Pune yesterday overcame the green hurdle with Union environment ministry granting clearance for its first phase subject to “strict compliance” of certain terms and conditions, reports PTI.

“The ministry, hereby, accords environmental clearance for the project as per provisions of Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and its subsequent amendments, subject to strict compliance of terms and conditions,” a government order said.

The ministry’s decision came after the Maharashtra government filed a case against the promoters of Lavasa Hill City for alleged violations of the Environment Protection Act (EPA).

Filing of the case under the EPA was one of the key pre-conditions of the environment ministry for granting clearance to the first phase of the project.

“We have now got environment clearance from the ministry of environment and forests and the stakeholders will be happy to hear this," a relieved Ajit Gulabchand, chairman, Lavasa Corporation, told PTI.

He said the decision would also reassure hundreds of villagers and workers engaged in the construction of the hill city project.

The ministry had laid down five pre-conditions, as suggested by the Expert Appraisal Committee, for Lavasa to comply with before grant of environment clearance.

These conditions include demarcation of land usage which includes open spaces, diverting 5% of its expenses for corporate social responsibility, creation of an environment restoration fund, which in turn will be monitored by a verification and monitoring committee and a submission by the company that violations would not be repeated.

The ministry has set out a list of 47 conditions for Lavasa, to be followed in letter and spirit, which includes earmarking five per cent of the total project cost for CSR initiatives.

These also include having a separate budget for community development activities and income generating programmes over and above the vocational training for individuals to take up self-employment and jobs.

The ministry also asked Lavasa to submit its environment- related policy and plan of action to it within three months and abide by the written undertaking given to the government.

The project developers have been asked to make a clear demarcation of ‘no development and construction zones’.

The developers have been directed to avoid carrying out hill cutting, digging, excavation or any other activity involving generation of soil “as far as possible”.

“There shall be no discharge of any kind of effluents from any facilities, including the treated waste water, from the sewage treatment plant/effluent treatment plant. The entire treated waste water from STP/ETP shall be recycled,” the order said.

The ministry has set eight conditions for the operational phase of the project which include using solar power to illuminate common areas, lighting for gardens and streets in addition to provision for solar water heating.

“Six monthly monitoring reports shall be submitted to the ministry and its regional office at Bhopal,” the order said.

“We are committed to developing Lavasa as an economic, social and environmentally sustainable city and we will work closely with MoEF and Maharashtra government for a sustainable development within a pre-agreed framework, while creating replicable benchmarks,” a Lavasa statement said.

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TRAI extend deadline for sending views on 4G service

According to the International Telecommunication Union, the apex global body for telecom related subjects, the targeted peak data transfer speed for IMT-Advance technology will be up to 100 Megabit per second for high mobility and 1 Gigabit per second for low mobility

New Delhi: Heeding to the request of telecom industry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday extended, for the second time, the deadline for sending comments on advanced mobile wireless broadband services, or fourth generation (4G), till 30th November.

The regulator has also extended the time for submitting counter comments on the paper ‘IMT-Advanced Mobile Wireless Broadband Services’ till 7th December, from 7th November earlier.

“Keeping in view the request of the stakeholders for extension of time for sending their comments and also the importance of the issue, all the stakeholders may now submit their written comments by 30 November 2011, and counter-comments by 7 December 2011,” TRAI said in a statement yesterday.

IMT-Advanced systems or 4G are latest mobile technologies that include improved performance capabilities that go beyond those of IMT-2000 (3G).

Earlier, TRAI had extended the deadline for sending comments and counter comments on the paper to 31st October and 7th November, from 20th and 27th September respectively.

TRAI, on 19th August, issued a pre-consultation paper on the subject for seeking stakeholder comments.

Key issues raised in the consultation paper are suitable spectrum bands, block size of spectrum to be auctioned, maximum spectrum permitted to bidder, eligibility criteria for bidding, roll out obligations, spectrum usage charges, quality of service parameters, security issues, among others.

According to the International Telecommunication Union, the apex global body for telecom related subjects, the targeted peak data transfer speed for IMT-Advance technology will be up to 100 Megabit per second for high mobility and 1 Gigabit per second for low mobility.

This theoretically means a person can download at least an hour length normal video within a minute while moving at a speed close to 100 kilometre per hour.

Last week telecom minister Kapil Sibal said that he expects 4G services will be launched in second half of 2012.

“We have large capacities in spectrum to move forward in 4G which is hopefully going to be launched towards end of next year. Later half of 2012...we should be ready to launch 4G,” Mr Sibal has said at an event.

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RBI directs urban co-op banks to stick to FIU-India’s new format

“UCBs are advised to carefully go through the reporting formats and initiate urgent steps to build capacity to generate reports, which are compliant with the XML format specifications,” the RBI said in a notification

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday directed urban co-operative banks (UCBs) to adhere to the new format developed by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-India) for filing various reports, including those on cash transactions and suspicious transactions, reports PTI.

“UCBs are advised to carefully go through the reporting formats and initiate urgent steps to build capacity to generate reports, which are compliant with the XML format specifications,” the RBI said in a notification.

It added that the date of transition from the old reporting format to the new one will be communicated to the UCBs later.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) states that every reporting entity has to furnish to FIU-India details on Cash Transaction Reports (CTRs), Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs), Counterfeit Currency Reports (CCRs) and Non Profit Organisation Transaction Reports (NTRs).

“FIU-India has advised that the earlier prescribed multiple data files reporting format is being replaced by a new single XML file format and prepared a comprehensive reporting format guide, giving the specifications of the prescribed reports to be furnished to FIU-India,” RBI said.

The reporting format guide, along with the XML sheet and user guide, can be downloaded from the website of FIU-India.

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