Medha Patkar slams Pawar over alleged involvement in Lavasa project

Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Dec 22 (ANI): Social activist Medha Patkar on Wednesday criticized Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar over his alleged involvement in the controversial housing project at Lavasa near Pune.

Patkar said Pawar's family and friends have shares in the premium township project Lavasa, coming up on the outskirts of Pune city.

"We have never said that Pawar has never done anything good for the State. It is definite that Lavasa is his dream. His family, his friends are involved. Those family shares have been sold and an informed source has told us that they couldn't have been sold for less than Rs. 2,000 crores," she said, while speaking at a function here.

Medha Patkar further said it would be an insult if the Environment Ministry lifts the ban on the project.

"We can't deny his right to give a statement. All we are saying is that the stay given by the Environment Ministry, if it is lifted, the Ministry would be insulting itself and not just that, the law will be breached," she added.

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said it can't decide on Lavasa Corporation's writ petition against the Ministry of Environment and Forest's stop-work order in isolation, and all litigation against the company's proposed hill station township project near Pune needed to be clubbed together.

The High Court will now look into issues such as displacements of people and rehabilitation plans, and the effect of the 25,000-acre project on water supply to Pune, near which the troubled hill station is located.

It will also look into various public interest litigation (PIL) alleging that the State Government has favoured Lavasa.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests had stayed construction work at the site alleging that Lavasa Corporation had violated the ministry notifications issued in 2004.

The court had earlier directed Lavasa to approach the ministry by December 9 regarding the stay imposed on the work and directed the ministry to pass an order on it by December 16.

However, the Ministry refused to vacate the stay and reply to the show cause notice. (ANI)

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