The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on Friday withheld the environmental clearance to the 2,000-hectare Lavasa hill city project near Pune.
Citing non-compliance of pre-conditions imposed on Hindustan Construction Company’s (HCC) Lavasa Corporation Limited (LCL), the ministry in its 70-page order said it was denying clearance to the first phase of the project.
“The final decision on the clearance cannot be taken till all the pre-conditions are met, including credible action by the state government of Maharashtra and subject to the final orders of the high court of Bombay as the matter is sub-judice,” the ministry said in its order on Friday.
Ajit Gulabchand, chairman and managing director, HCC, sought the prime minister’s intervention for an early resolution to the standoff. “We will do whatever it takes to resolve this issue,” he told HT.On May 31, the ministry’s environmental action committee had imposed five pre-conditions on the LCL before it was given a clearance.
They included, action by the state government for environment act violations, passing of a formal resolution by the company’s board that violations will not be repeated, adherence to hill station regulations for development work, allocation of 5% of total project cost for corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and earmarking adequate funds for payment of penalty.
Except for the first pre-condition, the company claims to have complied with all.
On Nov 25, 2010, the ministry had slapped a show-cause notice on LCL because it had allegedly failed to secure necessary environmental clearances before starting work on the 5,000-plus hectare lake city project, around 200 km from Mumbai. The company had approached the Bombay high court against the order. In February 2011, it applied afresh for environmental clearances.
The ministry would file its order in the HC on October 17.