Some relief for Lavasa after slight nod from HC

The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the union ministry of environment and forests to consider allowing a partial resumption of construction at Lavasa Corporation's hill station township project near Pune.

Adjourning the hearing of Lavasa's writ petition to Tuesday, the two-judge bench of the high court suggested that the ministry could allow some construction critical to the project under its supervision. But it did not pass an order because the additional solicitor general, representing the ministry, said he would be able to respond to the court at the next hearing after consulting the ministry.

During the proceedings, the court said that the ministry's order has only general observations on the violation of environmental norms. It needs to provide specific details about such violations.

The ministry, which on Tuesday issued an interim order stopping construction at the project, will give Lavasa a final hearing on 22 December and place its final decision before the court by 31 December.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Lavasa Corp challenging the show-cause notice and stop work order issued by the union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on 25 November.

After hearing both parties - Lavasa, a subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Co, and non-governmental organisation National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) led by noted social activist Medha Patkar - earlier this week, the ministry maintained its stance that the project has violated environmental norms.