The Centre's expert appraisal committee on infrastructure projects will consider Lavasa Corporation's hill city project in Pune district on February 14. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had asked Lavasa to file a fresh application before the Centre's EAC, so as to work out how the project can be regularised.
"The EAC will hear Lavasa Corporation and go through the details of the work carried out so far in its first phase before deciding how the project can be regularised and penalty worked out in this meeting," said an official from the MoEF.
The MoEF in its final order on the hill city project had termed it 'unauthorised' and 'environmentally damaging' but had said it was willing to consider the project if the company would pay a hefty penalty for the violations. This is the first time that a project of this scale will be regularised. However, sources in the MoEF said the ministry would hire experts to assess the works carried out on the site and assess environmental damage before deciding the penalty.
The MOEF has also asked the state to send some of the members of the state expert appraisal committee for this EAC hearing. The state is most likely to send EAC chairman PA Hakeem and expert BF Chaphekar, both were members of the site visit to Lavasa in January first week.
Lavasa had not agreed with the MoEF's order when it was passed but later said it was open for a dialogue with the ministry to get the project on track.