Centre wants state to revise hill station policy

The Centre wants the Maharashtra government to revise its hill station development policy of 1996, following the Lavasa controversy.

The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is working out guidelines for the state for revising the policy and the provision for setting up a Special Planning Authority (SPA) for such projects, and reviewing clearances given to other hill stations under the policy.

The SPA for Lavasa, set up in 2008, was given powers to clear all construction in the hill city without the state’s interference.

“The Centre will ask the state to review the policy to avoid haphazard development in eco-sensitive zones. The state will have to have safeguards such as a committee that will monitor environment improvement measures and ensure compliance with rules,’’ said a senior MoEF official, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Lavasa had argued that the project did not come under the ambit of central environment notifications since the state environment department had cleared it under the hill station development policy.

The MoEF in its order on Tuesday had said that this was a wrong interpretation of the law and the project required clearances from the Centre.


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