Lavasa Corporation Ltd has alleged that the show-cause notice and the order to maintain status quo issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) are based on misconception of facts and law.
It filed a petition in the Bombay High Court on Wednesday,
The subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Company has said that the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of January 1994 was not at all applicable to its on-going hill station project spread over 12,500 hectares within green cover of Western Ghats.
The notification issued under the Environmental Protection Act that mandates obtaining prior Environmental Clearance for certain big projects applies only for extension of on-going industrial projects, and not to a project involving development of a hill station. “The notice / order proceeds on erroneous premises that the development of hill station project is in violation of the aforesaid notification (of January 1994),” it adds.
Lavasa Corporation has said that the state government had accorded the required environmental clearance for the project. The state environment department had in August 200 issued a provisional No-Objection Certificate for the hill station and it was converted into a final environmental clearance on March 18, 2004, according to the petition.
Besides raising various objections regarding the notice issued by MoEF on November 25, Lavasa Corporation has also challenged constitutional validity of the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification.
It has said the notification purports to vest arbitrary powers in the authorities as regards development projects without laying any measurable parameters. “In absence of any precise parameters, the power is clearly arbitrary and not channelised by any definite norms,” it states.
On November 25, the MoEF has issued a notice to Lavasa Corporation asking it to state why all the construction done by it in Mulshi Tehsil of Pune district should not be ordered to be removed forthwith. The notice also ordered Lavasa Corporation to maintain status at the site. The petition is likely to come up for hearing on December 10.