New Delhi: After a direction by the Bombay
High Court, the Environment Ministry on Tuesday asked a
representative of the Lavasa Corporation Ltd (LCL) to appear
before it on Thursday to reply to the show-cause notice
ordering stoppage of construction of its Rs 2,000 crore
township in a hill station in Maharashtra.
"In pursuance to the (Bombay) High Court order, Lavasa
Corporation Ltd is hereby directed to appear before the
ministry through its counsel or representative on December 9,"
said an order of the ministry issued here.
Terming as "drastic" the ministry`s order for stopping
construction of a township in a hill station in Maharashtra,
a division bench of Justices DK Deshmukh and ND Deshpande
said it was issued without giving prior hearing.
It asked the Lavasa Corp to approach the ministry by or
on December 9 while directing the latter to give a hearing as
to whether construction work should be stayed and pass order
on the issue by December 16 which is the next date of hearing.
On November 25, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had
issued a show-cause notice to Lavasa, which is developing a
hill-station in Mulshi in Pune as to why it did not obtain
environmental clearances as per Environment Protection Act and
a 2004 notification.
The show-cause notice, reply to which was to be given
within a fortnight, also asked the firm to stop the
construction at the site.
Challenging the Environment Ministry`s notice in the
court, LCL, the project developer which is a subsidiary of
Hindustan Construction Company, has defended its decision to
develop the township saying that the project was initiated
after acquiring necessary nod from various authorities.
The firm has also submitted that the state government
granted it environmental clearance on March 18, 2004, after
considering the environment impact assessment (EIA) report of
NEERI while Maharashtra Pollution Control Board gave its
approval to the project in 2005.