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Thursday 17 November 2011

PRESS RELEASE : Status Quo Order of Mumbai High Court on Lavasa Hill City to Continue

Status Quo Order of Mumbai High Court on Lavasa Hill City to Continue
No Work to Commence On the Project

November 16, Mumbai : Various PILs against the Lavasa Hillcity project promoted by Hindustan Construction Company came for hearing today before the Bombay High Court bench of Justice Sharad Bobade and Justice Tahiramani. The hearing was critical in the context of the conditional clearance granted by Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on November 9th 2011. When MoEF informed the court about clearance then the joint petitioners NAPM and other social activists raised to issues of violation and questioned the clearance as illegal and granted under the political pressure and a complete U turn of the Ministry’s own position in past.

Advocate Ashish Mehta arguing for petitioner NAPM claimed that the clearance has not taken in consideration report of Expert Committees constituted by MoEF itself that brought out violations of the Environment Protection Act 1986 and Notifications of 1994, 2004 and 2006 and also the recommendations made by the Expert Committee. Lavasa Corporation on the other hand pleaded that the case should be heard by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and not by High Court.

On hearing both the sides and petitioners pray that they would require time to respond to the latest conditional clearance granted by the Ministry as well as the request put forward by Lavasa to refer the case to NGT, it being the right forum for its settlement.

The High Court granted four week time and rescheduled the next date of hearing for December 12 after further filing of replies and documents by concerned parties. Till then, High Court’s interim order of December 2010 maintaining status quo at the project site to remain operational until further order. This means the work will remain stopped at the worksite.  

It also needs to be noted that various cases of illegal transfer of adivasi land to Lavasa in violation of Anti Land Alienation Act, as also transferring of ceiling land and allotment of the reservoir land by Krishna Valley Development Corporation to Lavasa are going on with the appropriate district and other authorities since prima facie fraud and violation have already been established in the case.

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