In a setback to Lake City project in Pune by Lavasa Corporation, the environment ministry has decided to consider the entire first phase project for environment clearance instead of just that area, where construction has started.
This comes after the Lavasa Corporation Limited (LCL) refused to withdraw its petition in Bombay high court against the ministry’s order to stop work at the project site for alleged environmental violations. The ministry, through an affidavit, had asked the corporation to withdraw its petition till the ministry decides on its application to grant environment clearance to the posh Lake City project.
Mukul Rohagi, counsel for Lavasa, did not agree with the suggestion saying it would amount to petitioners taking an adverse order from the court, where the petition was filed.
“In view of the stand, the EAC (Environment Appraisal Committee) decided the proposals of 681.27 hectares be deferred and be considered along with the whole proposal of 2000 ha (first phase) after the submission of complete information,” the EAC said in the minutes of its last meeting.
As many as 257 residential units in 681.27 hectares were under construction when Environment minister Jairam Ramesh imposed a stop work order earlier this year. The corporation wanted environment clearance for this.
The ministry officials told EAC that it wanted the petitioners to withdraw as the ministry’s stop work order, which the court has refused to stay, should be in force till the show cause notice is decided. As Lavasa refused to withdraw its petition, the next hearing is slated for June 15.
In the meantime, the EAC has asked the corporation to provide details of mercury and arsenic in the soil although other heavy metals such as lead were found to be within the permissible limits.
The committee also wants that heavy metals including lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic in surface water should be within the drinking water limits as prescribed by Bureau of Indian Standards. “Report of government approved laboratory should be provided,” the committee said.
The ministry has also asked information on how waste generated from construction of villas in Dasve area will be disposed and how it will effected the overall water in the area.
The committee has also sought details of hill station development policy from the Maharashtra government and whether the corporation had taken necessary approvals to develop the hill city project.