Maharashtra revokes Lavasa’s special planning authority status
The project is now under the purview of the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA).pune Updated: Jul 07, 2017 10:14 IST
The Maharashtra government has formally revoked Lavasa Corporation’s ‘special planning authority’ status for its private hill city in Pune district, bringing the project under the purview of the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA).
The state urban development department issued a notification to bring the project under PMRDA on July 3, about a month after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the state government has decided to scrap Lavasa’s ‘special planning authority’ status.
The status of special planning authority is usually given to government agencies such as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for the Mumbai urban agglomeration or the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) for Navi Mumbai.
Lavasa was perhaps the first private entity to be granted such a status, a move for which the Congress-NCP regime faced a lot of flak.
A senior state government official said, “According to the Maharashtra Metropolitan Planning Committee Act, once an area development authority is formed, it becomes the planning authority for the entire area under it. Except a local authority or a civic body, any authority functioning in the region earlier will cease to perform any planning functions or exercise powers. Since Lavasa Corp is not a local authority, it cannot continue being the special planning authority any longer.”
The erstwhile Congress-Nationalist Congress Party-led Maharashtra government appointed Lavasa Corp as a special planning authority for 18 villages of Pune district under its hill station project in June 2008.
The current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government established the PMRDA in March 2015 and later expanded its boundaries to include the area under Lavasa’s project.
A ‘special planning authority’ status gives an entity the power to draw up land use plans, develop land in its jurisdiction, sanction constructions and take action on irregularities.
With the revocation of its status, Lavasa will have to approach the PMRDA for all further permissions and approvals, while the latter can take action if it finds any irregularities in the project like for any other construction in the Pune Metropolitan Area.
A spokesperson from the company said, “We have received the state government’s order and are studying it.”
He added the special planning authority worked within the state government’s rules and regulations and was subject to its supervision, and bringing the area under PMRDA now will help it benefit from the broader urban development plan of the region.
The Public Accounts Committee of the state legislature had recommended the state cancels the special planning agency status to Lavasa.
Moreover, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), too, had rapped the government in its 2012 report for giving special planning authority to a private firm.