The state government on May 23 revoked the special planning authority status given to Lavasa Corporation that has developed the controversial hill city Lavasa near Pune.
Lavasa Corporation was accorded the special planning authority status by the previous Congress-NCP government in 2008. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who chaired a war-room meeting on May 23 wherein a the decision was taken, said that since Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) was formed in 2015, there is no need for another special planning authority.
“When the project was planned, there was no planning authority and so the previous government would have given Lavasa Corporation a special status, but since PMRDA has been established, there is no need for another planning authority,” Fadnavis said after the meeting.
The CM also said that all the construction that has been done in line with rules in Lavasa will stay and any illegality or structures beyond approved norms will face action.
According to government officials, the special planning authority status gave Lavasa Corporation powers to develop land on its own land under the land use plans. “Whatever it has constructed till now, it will hand over to the PMRDA and from now on, all permissions will have to be sought from the PMRDA,” said Fadnavis.
Fadnavis said that the Public Accounts Committee, which has submitted a report to the legislative assembly during the Budget session this year, had recommended revoking the special planning authority status accorded to Lavasa. In fact, even a CAG report in 2012 had suggested revoking the status as it was “amounting to irregularities and environmental violations”, he added.
The Lavasa Hill City Project is still under construction and work has been stalled since 2010 after the Union environment ministry imposed restrictions. The plan to create Lavasa Corporation was finalized by the then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh at a special cabinet meeting in 2008.
The township, which was planned on the lines of Portofino in Italy, is spread across 25,000 acres near Varasgoan dam in Pune district and is about 220km from Mumbai. The project has been built on land acquired by the state government in 1971 for construction of Varasgoan dam.