Lavasa seeks environmental clearance for first phase

New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) After being given a lifeline,Lavasa today applied afresh for environmental clearance to thefirst phase of its Rs 3000-crore hill city project near Pune,which is being considered by a high-level committee.

"They (Lavasa) have applied for phase-I clearance,which is being considered," Environment Minister Jairam Rameshsaid today.

He said the matter is being considered by the ExpertAppraisal Committee (EAC).

"Phase I is 2000 hectares. Phase II is 3000 hectares.

And if I recall the application for the 2000hectares is being considered. And two weeks from now... threeweeks from now... the application for the next phase, which isalready on...3000 hectares...will be considered," the ministersaid.

Asked when the decision was expected, the Ministersaid, "I don''t know. The committee is meeting. I don''tinterfere in their function. They are meeting for deciding forthe phase I clearance."

He said Lavasa did not get the clearance fromenvironment view point.

"They went to court. The matter is in court. It is nowthey have applied for the environmental clearance. Today andtomorrow it is being considered in our ministry. It is goingthrough the due diligence process now," Ramesh said.

The Environment Ministry last month had held that thecontroversial project was "unauthorised" and had directed theLavasa Corporation Limited to maintain status-quo at theconstruction site.

However, providing a ray of hope for Lavasa, theMinistry had said it was prepared to consider the projectbeing constructed near Pune on "merits" subject to fulfilmentof certain conditions even as it ordered that no furtherconstruction should be undertaken for now.

On January 18, the Ministry in its order had said itwas prepared to consider the project subject to imposition ofpenalties, creation of Environmental Restoration Fund (ERF),formulation of a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment(EIA) and the management plan.

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