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Maharashtra to review action against Lavasa


Mumbai : With the environment ministry granting conditional clearance to the Lavasa hill-city project Wednesday, the Maharashtra government said it will “review” the criminal proceedings initiated against the company’s top brass.

“Whatever action has been initiated (by the state government) was on the basis of directions given by the centre. In view of the latest developments, we shall review the action initiated against Lavasa Corporation Ltd,” Minister of State for Environment Sachin Ahir told reporters.

Meanwhile, activist Vishwambhar Chaudhari of the National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement (NAPM), which has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court, termed the ministry’s order “unfortunate and politically motivated”.

“It is regretful that the order has come even before Maharashtra government has initiated any ‘credible action’ against the LCL top officials, barring just filing the case in the court,” Chaudhari told IANS.

He added that the next hearing in the matter in the high court is scheduled for Nov 16 (next Wednesday), while the case before a Pune court can start anytime.

Anti-Lavasa activist and environmentalist Suniti S.R. said the nod was on expected lines.

“Given the hectic meetings of top officials of Maharashtra in New Delhi in the past few days, this (order) was quite expected,” Suniti told mediapersons.

The ministry order follows the recent directions of the Bombay High Court to the state government to take “credible action” and the Oct 13 order of the ministry stipulating certain conditions before the LCL project’s first phase, spread over more than 7,200 hectares, could be cleared.

Accordingly, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) Nov 4 initiated criminal proceedings against 15 LCL officials, including chairman-cum-managing director Ajit Gulabchand, in a Pune district court.