Criminal proceedings filed against Lavasa

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on Friday filed criminal proceedings against nine directors and six officials of the Lavasa Corporation in a Pune court for violating environmental laws.

The state government had directed the board a day earlier to take action against Lavasa, which is developing a hill city project near Pune. The Bombay high court had earlier asked the state government to take 'credible action' against the company.

Ironically, initiation of criminal proceedings against Lavasa is one of the five preconditions laid down by the union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) in June for granting clearance for the project. With criminal proceedings under way, it can now grant the necessary environmental clearance for the project. 

In October last year, the ministry had said it would consider regularising the project if the state government initiated action against Lavasa and the company also met a few conditions.
They include establishing an environmental restoration fund, setting apart five per cent of profits for corporate social responsibility, drawing a revised development plan and a commitment from the company not to violate environmental laws.

''It is unfortunate that the state government, which had itself granted environment clearance to Lavasa in 2004, has had to initiate this action,'' said a company spokesperson. ''Such an action was the only precondition coming in the way of the project getting environment clearance from the environment ministry.''

The company claimed it had adhered to the laws of the land at all times and will continue to do so in the future.