Lavasa applies afresh for environmental clearance for first phase of Pune project

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh says issue under the consideration of expert committee

New Delhi: Lavasa Corporation has applied afresh for environmental clearance for the first phase of its Rs3,000 crore hill city project near Pune which will now be considered by a high-level committee.

"They (Lavasa) have applied for phase-I clearance, which is being considered," environment minister Jairam Ramesh said Monday evening. The minister said that the matter is being considered by an Expert Appraisal Committee, reports PTI.

"Phase I is 2,000 hectares. Phase II is 3,000 hectares. And if I recall right... the application for the 2,000 hectares is being considered. And two weeks from now... three weeks from now... the application for the next phase, which is already on...3,000 hectares...will be considered," the minister said.

Asked when a decision was expected, Mr Ramesh said, "I don't know. The committee is meeting. I don't interfere in their functioning. They are meeting to decide about phase I clearance." He said Lavasa had not got the clearance from the environment point of view.

"They went to court. The matter is in court. Now they have applied for the environmental clearance. Today and tomorrow it is being considered in our ministry. It is going through the due diligence process now," Mr Ramesh said.

In an order issued last month, the environment ministry held that the project was "unauthorised" and it directed Lavasa Corporation to maintain status-quo at the construction site. However, the ministry also said that it was prepared to consider the project on "merits" subject to fulfilment of certain conditions, but no further construction should be undertaken for now.

On 17 January, the ministry said in its order that could consider the project subject to imposition of penalties, the creation of an Environmental Restoration Fund, and the formulation of a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment and management plan.

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6 years ago

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