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Maharashtra to probe irregularities in Lavasa project

Last updated on: September 3, 2010 18:23 IST

Maharashtra to probe irregularities in Lavasa project

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The Maharashtra government has found "some irregularities" in Lavasa, the country's first planned hill city project, and would take action if its probe proved any wrongdoing, a senior state minister said.

"Some irregularities are there," Revenue Minister Narayan Rane told reporters in the presence of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and indicated that the probe report would be ready within a fortnight.

He said that a key issue in question was the handover of 141 hectares of land to the private project by the state irrigation department and whether the department has the authority to do so.

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Image: Lavasa project.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lavasa website.
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Another issue was to find out whether any permission had been taken from the government or the district collector while acquiring the land of tribals.

"If there is any wrongdoing, action will be taken," Rane, a former Chief Minister, said. Reports recently also said that the project being built on 10,000 hectares of land in Pune district has come under the scanner of the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests on the issue of environmental clearances.

The city is coming up in the Western Ghats on the hillocks surrounding the Warasgaon reservoir. It is to have, among other things, villas, luxury apartments and hotels.

The project's initial promoters included Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule and her husband Sadanand Sule, who withdrew from the project in 2004. It also included Aniruddha Deshpande, a builder close to Pawar who also later sold his stake.

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Image: Lavasa project.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lavasa website.
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Maharashtra to probe irregularities in Lavasa project

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"Lavasa Corporation has complied with all the environmental norms, which have been closely monitored by the responsible authorities," a spokesperson for Lavasa Corporation said.

The project has been dogged by controversy ever since it was launched in 2002. Critics, including local farmers and activists say it will cause large-scale ecological damage and have questioned the speed at which the state government cleared the project.


Image: Nature at its best.
Photographs: Courtesy, Lavasa website.
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