The Bombay high court on Friday directed the state government to justify granting of special planning authority (SPA) status to Lavasa Corporation for developing a hill city near Pune. As an SPA, the developer can draw up development plans for the hill station and purchase land without state interference.
The court was hearing a petition filed by two tribal brothers from Mulshi taluka of Pune district challenging the SPA notification issued by the urban development department (UDD) on June 12, 2008.
Bandya Bhau Walhekar and his brother Babu have contended that statutory powers like planning authority cannot be delegated to a private company, and that the notification was based on wrong interpretation of provisions of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1956.
The Walhekar brothers have also objected to conferring powers to acquire land for the hill city project under provisions of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, and have alleged that, relying on the notification, the company is trying to dispossess them, even though they have not sold their land. The state has been given four weeks to file the affidavit.