The environment ministry is likely to decide on Tuesday whether or not to allow construction of Rs 3000 crore-Lavasa hill city project in Pune which has been embroiled in a controversy for allegedly violating green norms.
"In all likelihood, we will issue an interim order in this regard on Tuesday as the Bombay High Court has set a deadline for us to decide on the matter by December 16 (the next date of hearing of the case)," environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on Monday.
On December 7, the Bombay High Court had stayed the status quo notice issued by the environment ministry to the Lavasa Corporation, owned by Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), asking it to stop construction on its 5,000-hectare township site.
Observing that the ministry's show-cause notice was issued in "haste" and without hearing Lavasa's version, a Division Bench of Justices N D Deshpande and D K Deshmukh directed the Ministry to give Lavasa a hearing and decide by December 16 whether the construction work should be stayed or not.
The Ministry had slapped a show-cause notice on Lavasa Corporation because it had allegedly failed to secure necessary environmental clearance before starting work on its Lake-City project coming up in Mulshi sub-district of Pune, around 200 km from Mumbai.
Lavasa has alleged in the High Court that the show-cause notice issued on November 25, objecting to further developments at the site, was issued "in haste and without following the principles of natural justice".
Lavasa's petition said Jairam Ramesh was "biased and had prejudged the matter by issuing the notice without giving a hearing to the company". In its 66-page petition, Lavasa has defended the development of the hill station saying it was need of the hour as there is tremendous pressure on existing ones in the state.
The petition also submitted the state government had granted it environmental clearance on March 18, 2004, after considering the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute. They also received a go-ahead from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board in 2005, it added.