I was branded anti-national for stopping Lavasa: Jairam Ramesh
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I was branded anti-national for stopping Lavasa: Jairam Ramesh

Former Union Minister and Senior Congress leader said that he was the first person to red flag the Lavasa project citing environmental violations

pune Updated: May 26, 2017 18:34 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
Jairam Ramesh,BJP,Congress
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had stopped Lavasa project citing environmental violations. (PTI FILE PHOTO)

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday said that he was branded anti-national when he opposed the Lavasa Hill City Project in Pune as environment minister during the UPA government. Speaking to the media in Pune, Ramesh said that many people had come to meet him when he red-flagged Lavasa, the brainchild of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.

“I read reports about the revocation of Lavasa’s Special Planning Authority status. When I took a decision on Lavasa few years back, I was branded anti-national,” the Congress leader said while replying to a query about the Maharashtra government’s latest decision to bring the private hill city under the state government’s authority.

As an environment minister during the erstwhile UPA government, Ramesh had stopped the Lavasa project citing environmental violations.

“I red-flagged Lavasa. It was me who stopped Lavasa first. Many people, including Prakash Ambedkar, had come to me opposing Lavasa,” Ramesh said hinting that there was a pressure on him to call back his decision.

“We can’t make all the people happy. It is important to maintain honesty in the government,” said the Rajya Sabha MP, hinting that some of the leaders including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, were disappointed by the environment ministry’s decision. Lavasa had received full backing from the NCP chief even when the project was facing heavy criticism from activists over environmental violations and forceful land acquisition.

"I had got the idea of developing the Lavasa hill city while travelling in a helicopter. The project did not face any opposition when it came to acquiring land, yet people formed committees and tried to create hurdles to obstruct the completion of the project," Pawar had said in 2014 while stressing that the state had 26 more sites that can be developed into similar projects.

  • Congress leader Jairam Ramesh called the BJP environment minister Prakash Javadekar the destructor of environment.
  • "The pace in which he is clearing these projects one after the other, Javadekar has become the destructor of environment rather than being its protector."

First Published: May 26, 2017 17:33 IST