Environment Ministry to visit Lavasa site today

New Delhi: A technical team from the Environment Ministry will visit the site of  the Lavasa township near Pune Wednesday. The construction at Lavasa is held up for want of environmental clearance.

A five-member Ministry team headed by Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Division Advisor Nalini Bhat will make an on-the-spot assessment of the controversial Rs. 3,000 crore hill project, said sources.

The sources also said it would take at least three days to complete the assessment.

The Ministry will also submit its reply in the Mumbai High Court by January 10 in connection with a petition filed by Lavasa challenging the stay on construction ordered by the Ministry.

The Ministry team is visiting the site as per the Mumbai High Court`s direction. Last month, the High Court had asked the Environment Ministry to take, by January 10, a final decision on the show-cause notice issued to the company.

The High Court had directed that before taking the decision, a state/Centre-level Environment Impact Assessment Committee must visit the site "at least for three days" for inspection.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had last week said a technical team of the Ministry would visit Lavasa soon.

Environment Ministry served a notice to Lavasa on November 25 asking why it did not obtain environmental clearances, as per notifications issued under Environment Protection Act, before the hill city project started in 2004.

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