Wed, Mar 30, 2011
In what could be a prelude to some kind of settlement between Lavasa, majorly owned by Hindustan Construction and the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), the company’s counsel is seeking to withdraw petitions at the Bombay High Court against the ministry, reports CNBC-TV18’s Ashwin Mohan.
Irrespective of the government counsel’s disapproval, the court on Wednesday did accept the withdrawal of Lavasa petitions against MoEF, saying that the order the company’s application is subject to challenge. However, the court did not pass final judgement on the matter observing January 17 status quo to be maintained. The status quo sought halting of construction on Lavasa.
In retaliation, Lavasa backtracked saying that it does not want to withdraw its petition post HC observation. “We oppose to status quo maintenance condition,” Lavasa’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi said.
Lavasa counsel had been seeking to pursue pending applications with the ministry saying, “We don’t want to be stuck in court; we want to approach the MoEF.” The company would be able to save Rs 500 crore loss by moving out of court, the counsel had said.
Sources in the environment ministry have said that Medha Patkar-led NGOs would file a new petition against Lavasa where in MoEF won’t be a part. The new petition would appeal to go with the ‘stop construction’ order for 257 buildings though the ministry is okay with exemption to these.
Lavasa had in February applied for fresh environment clearance for the first phase of the project after the ministry had held that the project was unauthorised and had directed the company to maintain status quo at the site.
CNBC-TV18 had earlier reported that the ministry is likely to clear construction for Phase I project and conditional approval for other phases. It may also agree with the expert appraisal committee’s conditional (EAC) nod on Lavasa.
The company, which has been facing ‘stop order’ in its construction work for the last three months, may be allowed to complete the 257 buildings which are part of the phase I project. However, this will be undertaken only under certain conditions.
Don’t miss out: MoEF may agree to EAC’s conditional nod to Lavasa
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