The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) recently allowed Lavasa Corporation Ltd to complete the construction of 257 under-construction buildings at its hill town project in Pune district.
The MoEF had stopped construction on November 25, 2010, when it issued a show-cause notice to Lavasa Corporation, a subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Company, for alleged environmental violations.
The status quo has been modified by the ministry on the recommendation of its Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC).
Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, who represents the company, informed the Bombay high court on Wednesday that the company has been allowed to complete the construction subject to certain conditions.
The company proposed to construct 935 buildings at its hill station spread over 12,500 hectares. It has almost completed construction on 131 buildings, while 257 buildings are under construction above plinth level.
Noting that substantial development has already taken place on about 700 hectares of land, the EAC said, “There is no other alternative before the EAC, except appraising the project ex-post-facto and specifying certain conditions with a view to minimise future damages.”
The EAC has recommended that the company be allowed to complete construction taking into consideration the hardship faced by Lavasa Corporation, its construction workers and investments made by third parties.
In view of this development, the company on Wednesday sought to withdraw its petition challenging the MoEF order issued on January 17. Rohatgi sought to withdraw the petition stating they have submitted a fresh proposal to the MoEF seeking post-facto environmental clearance.
However, the petition was not withdrawn after the division bench of justice Ranjana Desai and justice RG Ketkar said suggested the company maintain status quo until the proposal is finally decided. The court did not pass any order and adjourned further hearing on the Lavasa petition after Rohatgi took a strong objection to the suggestion.