Lavasa's case and NAPM's petition clubbed together: Court

BOMBAY HIGH COURT REFUSES TO STAY THE STOP WORK NOTICE ISSUED BY MOEF TO LAVASA FOR CARRYING OUT WORK OF HILL STATION ILLEGALLY
Lavasa Lake City Corporation approached the Bombay High Court’s Division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S J Kathawala on Thursday to get the stop work notice issued by the Ministry of Environment & Forests stayed. However,  the Hon’ble Court refused Lavasa’s stay petition and clubbed the case with the NAPMs petition in the same matter. Read more

Lavasa Corporation through their counsel argued that the Stop Work Notice was delayed and under pressure of the activists and the project did not require the Environmental Clearance since it was a tourism project and not a town ship project as well as around 6000 crore rupees had already been invested in the same.

The MoEF through Additional Solicitor General Mr. M. Khambata responded that the delay in sending the Notice was not the issue but "when did they (Lavasa) know (that clearances were necessary)" was the issue. He further added, "they brazenly went on with the construction, though admittedly they had no environmental clearance," The burden to prove that the project was not harming the environment was on Lavasa, he added. Further, said that MOEF was ready to give hearing to Lavasa at the earliest, and would pass order before December 31st, 2010.

Acting upon NAPMs complaint filed on 20th September, 2010 the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had issued a show cause notice to Lavasa, an HCC group company, on November 20th alleging that it had not secured due environmental clearances before starting construction on an area covering 5,000 acres, while the total area of the Hill city planned is declared to be 25,000 acres; to which Lavasa has given a long reply of 1000 pages which the Ministry has looked into, before issuing the notice a delegation was informed.

The Ministry asked the company to submit the details of the project, clearances obtained and status of the project with photographs within 15 days along with a reason as to why should the construction since 2004 not be demolished, forthwith in entirety.  Pending decision by the MoEF on legal violations
involved, all work at the site has been stopped.

NAPM was represented in the Court by former CBI official and IPS turned lawyer YP Singh & Adv Ashish Mehta. Also present were farmers from Lavasa project-affected villages and environmental activist Vishambar Choudhary, one of the petitioners on behalf of NAPM.

Simpreet Singh  Medha Patkar    Suniti SR.  Dyaneshwar Shedge
Ph: 09423571784 / 09969363065 / 09423965153

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