MoEF studying Lavasa reply: Ramesh

The Environment Ministry said today that it has found loopholes in Lavasa Corporation's reply to its notice for alleged violation of norms in its 25,000-hectares hill city project near Pune.

"There are some loopholes in Lavasa Corporation's reply," environment minister Jairam Ramesh said in a statement.

The ministry "is studying it further and a response will be given within the stipulated time," the statement read, though it gave no time frame.  
Meanwhile, the company, a unit of HCC, said today the Environment Ministry was acting under pressure from activists and alleged mala fide intentions against the project with suspension of critical facts.

The ministry had last week slapped a show cause notice on Lavasa for carrying out construction at its hill-city project without obtaining the ministry's prior approval. The ministry said the construction had been carried out at height 1,000 metres above sea level against the permitted 640-900 metres range.
The minister had yesterday denied any bias or prejudice in the show cause notice to the company.

"The show cause notice was sent because in the view of my ministry, existing laws of forest conservation and environment protection had been violated," Ramesh told reporters in Mumbai.

"When the reply comes, we will follow procedures as per law. No decision will be taken arbitrarily. Lavasa will be given a chance to put forth their point. Action would be taken after due consideration," he had said.