Earlier this month, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane announced that the irregularities in the Lavasa project near Pune could be “regularised” within the ambit of the law and that there was no reason to scrap it. The ambitious Lavasa Lake City project has drawn flak from activists and locals for violating the laws and buying the land of Adivasis, apart from surplus land under the Land Ceiling Act. Mr. Rane admitted that there were some irregularities, but they could be rectified through levy of heavy fines as provided for under various laws. He told journalists that there was no question of any political pressure to do this; the Revenue Department had investigated the matter and come up with certain findings. He felt that the project with a proposed investment of Rs. 48,356 crore and with a capacity to generate nearly one lakh jobs could not be scrapped; it would send out a bad signal to investors.
Mr. Rane said he had ordered the Pune Collector to take some quick steps, including the setting up of a competent authority to hear the grievances of people who were given less compensation for their land. The Collector was also asked to submit reports on the irregularities in the purchase of Adivasi land by Lavasa without proper permission from the State government.
According to Mr. Rane, the Lavasa Corporation was developing Lavasa Lake City, in four phases, between 2008 and 2023. The project was aimed at tourism, research and development, education and the setting up of technical and communication centres, a golf club and water sports, and it would generate at least 96,705 jobs. Of these, 6,357 jobs had already been created.