The Bombay High Court pulls up state government, and has instructed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to clearly say whether the Lavasa application has been accepted or rejected. It has added that the ministry will not be given an extension after three weeks under any circumstances. The final hearing will take place on 16th November
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government today informed the Bombay High Court (HC) that it would initiate “credible” action against Lavasa Corporation for violation of environmental laws within two weeks, after which the Union environment ministry could reconsider its passed order, reports PTI.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had on 13th October passed an order in the matter stating it would be able to take a final decision on environment clearance only after the five preconditions laid down by the ministry are complied with by Lavasa and the state government.
The first precondition is for the Maharashtra government to take credible action against Lavasa for violations under the Environment Protection Act (EPA). However, the state government had till date not taken any action.
Pulling up the state government, a Division Bench of Justices DD Sinha and
VK Tahilramani said, “MoEF had sent a letter to the government on 10th June this year asking it to take credible action but till date nothing has been done. What does the government propose to do? Will it take action or will it not?”
Counsel for the government, SK Shinde, told the HC that no action was taken till date as the matter was sub-judice and pending before the court and a clarification was sought from MoEF in July but no reply was given.
After the HC sought to know if the state government would now take action, Mr Shinde said the government would initiate action within two weeks.
“We have taken instructions from the secretary of the environment department who said positive action would be initiated against Lavasa for violations,” he said. In view of the statement made by the Maharashtra government, Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata appearing for the MoEF, told the HC that the ministry would reconsider the application filed by Lavasa seeking environmental clearance and pass its final order within three weeks.
The Bench, after perusing the MoEF order, observed that the order was ambiguous and not conclusive. “The order should have been decisive and conclusive. Why doesn’t the order say whether Lavasa’s application has been rejected or accepted? By saying that it is unable to issue clearance, the ministry has kept the issue pending,” Justice Sinha said.
After the government initiates action, the MoEF should reconsider the application and pass its final order within three weeks.
“This order will have to clearly say whether the application is accepted or rejected. The ministry will not be given extension after three weeks under any circumstances,” the court said while posting the matter for final hearing on 16th November.
If the ministry fails to pass its final order either rejecting or accepting the application, the HC said it would hear Lavasa’s petition on merits and pass appropriate orders. Senior counsel Shekhar Naphade appearing for Lavasa argued that the MoEF has been taking time to pass the order since June this year and is “financially crushing” the township. “Since four months there has been no construction. Lavasa is losing crores of money every day,” he argued.
The Prime Minister wants more emphasis on development of infrastructure, education, health and skills development to achieve this ambitious target
New Delhi: India can “swim against the wind blowing from abroad” and achieve a growth rate of 8% to 8.5% this fiscal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today, reports PTI.
Noting that the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) has targeted economic growth of about 9%, Dr Singh said, “It is difficult in the present world situation,” but added that he believed it is achievable if more emphasis is laid on development of infrastructure, health and skill development. “Just as in the year 2008 we showed to the world that we can swim against the wind blowing from abroad, it is still possible for India to maintain a healthy growth rate of about 8% to 8.5% (2011-12) despite the adversity of the international environment,” he said.
Dr Singh, while interacting with accompanying journalists on board his special plane on the way back from South Africa last evening, was speaking about the impact of the economic crisis in Europe and other developed countries like the US and Japan.
Asked how India could protect itself from the global economic crisis, he said, “We have to ensure that the ill winds from abroad do not affect the growth processes in our country adversely. And for that it is very essential that we maintain the tempo of investment, particularly investment in the infrastructure sector, investment in agriculture, investment in energy-saving technologies.”
The PM said that India will have to “walk on several legs” to achieve the “most important task” of getting rid of chronic poverty, ignorance and disease which still afflict millions and millions of people in the country. “We have to ensure that the country’s economy grows fast enough. The 12th Five Year Plan has the target of about 9% growth rate. It is difficult in the present world situation but we believe it is achievable,” Dr Singh said.
He said if lot more emphasis is simultaneously laid on infrastructure, education, health, skill development, “We will create an environment where the youthful population profile that we have, will create not only higher growth rates but also create jobs of productive quality for young men and young women who would be joining the labour force.”
Asked on whether he was worried that the protests witnessed in Wall Street and Europe could get replicated in India, Dr Singh said peaceful protests are a “part of functioning of any democratic polity.”
He said there are “reasons” as to why people are protesting in Wall Street and in Europe, and they include fat salaries that the bankers are getting when people are being asked to tighten their belts.
“There is (a) problem of growing unemployment in the United States. There is also worry in Europe. So, these are problems which the system must have credible answers to take them on board,” Dr Singh said.
“I think democracy that way provides an outlet for people’s frustrations, which I think is a very timely warning, for all those who are in charge of the processes of governance,” the PM added.
About his expectations from the Cannes Summit of G-20 countries taking place early next month, the Prime Minister said that the developed countries, particularly the euro-zone countries, ought to come up with “credible measures” to resolve the crisis of sovereign debt “which now is becoming a major global concern.”
Experts say that ‘mithai’ makers often use adulterated material; call for a strong & effective monitoring agency to monitor quality of sweetmeats
It’s Diwali time! Celebration with family & friends with sweets is the most common ritual for this festival across the country. But keep an eye on the mithai that you might buy from your local shop.
Experts say that the demand for sweetmeats rises during the festive season, giving shop-owners ample reason to manufacture them by compromising on the quality of these products. There is blatant usage of adulterated material and colours beyond the permissible limit.
Recently, officials from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), Maharashtra, raided shops to crack down on adulterated and spurious material such as mawa (made out of condensed milk) commonly used in sweets. Around 1,052kg of spurious mawa was confiscated from Dadar, central Mumbai.
Such raids during festival time are common. But these raids fail to act as a deterrent as consumers are continued to be sold adulterated material. Experts say that unless there is a strong agency monitoring these sweet-shop owners, people will continue to be fooled.
AR Shenoy, a Mumbai-based consumer activist, who also has 40 years of hands-on experience in chemical testing, told Moneylife: “There is no testing laboratory for these shops. The entire business is unorganised and hence there is no quality control on the goods coming in and going out. Since there is high demand for sweets during the festive season, manufacturers often use adulterated materials. We need a strong and impartial monitoring agency.”
V Sudershan Rao, a food safety expert at the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, said, “It is very difficult for consumers to detect if the sweets are adulterated. We conduct a simple test using iodine to check the adulteration level, but as a consumer, one cannot really go from shop to shop and check these products. There is a need for a monitoring agency for these sweet shops at the local level.”
FDA officials have appealed to people to buy sweets from licensed shops and importantly check the “best-before” usage tag on them.
However, Mr Shenoy added, “Even for those sweets brought from established and recognised shops, one cannot guarantee if they are pure or adulterated.” Another common problem is that these sweetmeats are often coloured to make them look attractive to buyers. However, these colours are often used beyond the permissible limit. According to the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, the permissible limit for synthetic food colour is 100 milligrams per kilogram.
“As an activist, I am totally against the usage of these synthetic colours. If used beyond the permitted limit, these could be harmful. Instead, one should use natural colours such as turmeric, kesar etc,” explained Mr Shenoy.
Mr Rao added, “We generally advice people to eat homemade sweets. Or at least buy sweets from the most reliable source.”
So before you buy your quota of sweetmeats for this Diwali, keep this bitter truth in mind.