The Environment Ministry on Wednesday gave conditional clearance to the first phase of the Rs 30,000 crore Lavasa hillside township near Pune in Maharashtra , the ministry said in a letter posted on its website.
Lavasa, the massive township being built over 25,000 acres by Ajit Gulabchand-led Hindustan Construction Company,had in February applied for fresh environment clearance of phase-I spread over 2,000 hectares in Mulshi sub-district near Pune.
"The ministry has cleared the Lavasa project, saying all the preconditions have been met with the Maharashtra government taking action against the company for violation of green laws," a ministry official told CNN IBN.
The preconditions included credible action by the Maharashtra government against the violation of environment laws, submission of a written commitment by the company that green violations shall not be repeated, and that the scale and intensity of development of the hill town shall be as per Hill Station Regulations.
However, the ministry had on November 25, 2010, slapped a showcause notice on Lavasa Corporation as it had allegedly failed to secure necessary environmental clearances before starting work on its lake city project.
The long-running dispute is one of many high-profile clashes over land acquisition between big business and authorities in the rapidly-developing economy.
The ministry of environment and forests declined to give approval to the township last month, saying it had not complied with conditions specified by a ministerial panel probing the project's violation of green rules.
The Maharashtra government on 20 October had informed the Bombay HC that it would initiate 'credible' action against Lavasa Corporation for violation of environmental laws within two weeks, after which the union environment ministry could reconsider its passed order.
On 4 Novermber , the Maharashtra government filed a criminal complaint against 15 persons who were part of the contentious hill city project. The complaint, which was filed under the Environment Protection Act (EPA) for violation of the environment laws, included its chairman Ajit Gulabchand and three directors.
In response, Lavasa Corporation Limited stuck to its stand that it had always adhered to the law of the land and will continue doing so.
Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 07:02:15 IST