MOEF order more on jurisdiction than environment issues:Lavasa

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 18 (PTI) Reacting to Environment Ministryorder that no further construction should be undertaken at itssite near Pune for allegedly violating green norms, LavasaCorporation Limited today said a "quick review" of the orderindicated the Ministry''s decision was "more on jurisdictionthan on environment issues".

"MoEF order states that Maharashtra state government doesnot have authority for giving the 2001 and 2004 clearances. Italso challenges Maharashtra government�s Hill Stations policyof 1996 saying it should be reviewed. This clearly indicatesthat the key issue is over jurisdiction between the state andcentral government and not one of environment," Lavasa said ina statement.

"The state government has given environmental clearancefor 2000 hectares in the year 2004. In August 2009, Lavasaapplied to MoEF for environmental clearance under their 2006Notification for project expansion of 3000 hectares. In spiteof submitting all the relevant documents, MoEF is yet to giveenvironment clearance. The MoEF order is conveniently silenton their delay of 18 months in granting their clearance," itsaid.

The company alleged the villagers supporting Lavasa weremore than 1000 in number whereas those supportingenvironmentalist Medha Patkar were a mere dozen.

"Yet, the committee gives disproportionately more spaceto highlighting issues of Medha Patkar supporters," it said.

Lavasa contended "no weightage or consideration" had beengiven to the "huge body of data submitted" by it onenvironment protetion and enhancement initiatives.

The company suggested a technical team of the Ministrythat had inspected the site had misrepresented the "state ofaffairs" by "amplifying minor faults and ignoring theenvironmental work done" which was "bound to have a negativebearing on the decision of the competent authority".

The Ministry''s team, headed by Naresh Dayal, hadundertaken a visit to the site from January 5 and said nolarge-scale destruction of forest had taken place there.

Lavasa said the entire process of restoration andenhancement of the ecology of the place, which wassubstantially denuded to begin with, was presented to thecommittee and even demonstrated at site.

"It has neither been acknowledged nor appreciatedanywhere in the report. Wherever it does find mention, it isshown as a mere submission by Lavasa," it added.

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