MoEF denies Environment Clearance to Lavasa
The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has once again denied Environment Clearance (EC) to Lavasa Corporation Ltd (LCL) saying that the construction firm has failed to comply with all the pre-conditions imposed on them.
"As the pre-condition on the credible action on violation of EIA Notification, 2006 has not been complied with, the Ministry is unable to issue the Environmental Clearance to the first phase of Hill City project (2000 ha) of M/s LCL," MoEF said in its order.
In May, 2011, the Ministry had recommended the proposal for-the issue of Environmental Clearance for the 1st phase of the project after imposing certain pre-conditions such as (i) Credible action by the State Government of Maharashtra against the violation; (ii) Submission of a written commitment by M/s Lavasa Corporation Ltd. in the form of a formal resolution from Board of Directors of the company that violations of the Environment (Protection) Act etc. shall not be repeated; (iii) The scale and intensity of development of the hill town shall be as per Hill Station Regulations and shall be revised based on developable/buildable area; (iv) At least 5% of the total cost of the project shall be earmarked towards the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and (iv) LCL shall submit an undertaking/commitment to earmark necessary/adequate funds as per report to be submitted shortly regarding the quantum of penalty/re-compense and creation of Environmental Restoration Fund.
Expressing its disappointment, LCL claimed they had fulfilled all the pre-conditions except the first one which is related to State Government’s credible action. “In fact, it is not even an ‘Order’. After eleven months of continued delaying tactics, the MoEF has yet again evaded grant of Environment Clearance (EC). To suggest that the State Government of Maharashtra has not yet taken action is not a good enough reason for delaying grant of EC, to such a large and important project, under development for last seven years,” the spokesperson of Lavasa Corporation Ltd said.
Stating that they find this move by the MoEF highly discriminatory and unjust, the company said, “The State Government had issued EC to Lavasa in 2004. In fact, the MoEF appointed Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has also recommended clearance to the project and the same was accepted by the MoEF in June 2011. For the first time in the history of the MoEF, pre-conditions were imposed on Lavasa for granting EC. Lavasa has already complied with all the pre-conditions which we were supposed to fulfill.”
The MoEF’s new order came after Bombay High Court last month directed it to pass the final order in three weeks.
However, the Ministry in its order said:"As the pre-condition on the credible action on violation of EIA Notification, 2006 has not been complied with, the Ministry is unable to issue the Environmental Clearance to the first phase of Hill City project (2000 ha) of M/s LCL.”