Lavasa case adjourned to 25 March

Lavasa case adjourned to 25 March

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday adjourned hearing on Lavasa Corp Ltd’s plea against environment ministry to 25 March.

A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Rajesh G. Ketkar granted the plea of environment ministry which had asked for adjournment of the case for two weeks.

The court will hear the writ petitions and public interest litigations (PILs) against Lavasa together and extended the status-quo at the Lavasa project site.

The company that is building a city on 20,000 acres of hillocks in the Western Ghats near Pune has invested Rs4,000 crore so far. Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd (HCC) holds a 65% stake in Lavasa Corp.

Lavasa Corp. had filed an appeal against the final report passed by environment ministry on 17 January which said the development had damaged the environment and violated land acquisition norms in the eco-sensitive area of the Western Ghats, prolonging the work stoppage at the site.

Meanwhile, Medha Patkar’s National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) made amendments to its PIL and challenged environment ministry’s show-cause notice.

NAPM in its petition said that the show-cause notice is “incomplete and discriminatory".

Ashish N. Mehta , lawyer for NAPM said, “We are challenging the ministry’s stand that it can regularize illegal construction done by Lavasa. In the environment protection Act there is no provision to regularize any illegal construction."

The ministry on 25 November 2010 had asked Lavasa to prove within 15 days that it didn’t violate environmental norms in its hill city development, stalling construction at the site.