Activists slam MoEF for Lavasa project clearance

Nov 10, 2011, 09:03 IST | Vivek Sabnis
Calling approval a conspiracy, eco brigade flays ministry for granting permission to restart first phase of hill city project

Environmentalists and social activists have criticised the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for granting conditional clearance for the first phase of the Lavasa project. The MoEF had earlier ruled out the possibility of the construction and had clearly stated that Lavasa had not complied with conditions specified by ministerial panel as the project was violating environmental norms. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's support to MoEF to grant clearance about two days ago also met with criticism from the activists.

Back to work: CM Prithviraj Chavan's support to MoEF to grant clearance
to Lavasa hill city project also met with criticism from the activists. File pic

Political pressure?
Describing the episode as a political conspiracy, Sunita Su Ra, conveyor, National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM), said that this was objectionable and nothing but a conspiracy of   using political pressure to restart this project. "By misinterpreting the word 'credible action' in the Lavasa project, the government is doing something else," she added.

 Yashwant Kanhere, former state deputy town planner, said this was a "disturbing development" and political gimmick used for acquiring the MoEF clearance. "MoEF has hurriedly taken this decision, when the matter is still sub-judiced in the high court and the Supreme Court. Even a criminal case has been filed against it (Lavasa) in the city court. The state government should assess the building approval and look into the violation of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act by Lavasa," he said.

 Maruti Bhapkar, a social activist said that it was a national level criminal conspiracy between the Centre and the state government, especially between the UPA and NCP. "The manner in which NCP President Sharad Pawar met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on the Lavasa issue and the way the CM urged MoEF for the clearance looks fishy. In the high court hearing on November 30, action may be taken against MoEF for favouring Lavasa," he added.

Hazare blames CM
Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare has also blamed Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for violating his oath of honesty while he condemned the MoEF's decision to favour the Lavasa project.

Lavasa court case
Hearing of the case began yesterday at Shivajinagar Court. The Chief Judicial Magistrate N T Ghadge asked advocate T Narayan, who is fighting the case on behalf of Lavasa to begin pleading from the next hearing on November 11, as the scrutiny of the papers were yet to completed.

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