Pune: Criticising "elements opposing development", NCP chief Sharad Pawar Tuesday endorsed the concept behind controversial Lavasa lake city project, saying there were 26 unpopulated sites near water bodies in the state that could be developed on the lines of English tourist towns.
Venting his ire over agitation by a section of social and green activists against the project of Hindustan Construction Company over environmental and land acquisition issues, Pawar said the negative campaign stalled it for some years before it got back on the track.
"There are 26 sites near unpopulated water bodies in Maharashtra that can be developed on the lines of English tourist towns," the former Union Agriculture Minister said.
Pawar was speaking at the 80th anniversary function of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.
Pawar, who is said to have conceptualised the Lavasa project in the district, has been its ardent supporter despite various objections raised by environment and social activists. He said the lake city was now a tourist attraction, visited by about 10,000 people every week.
He also advised the media not to give publicity to the negative campaigns of the "elements opposed to development" and stressed the need to change the mindset to welcome new ideas.