After giving the Lavasa Corporation Limited a patient hearing last week, the Environment and Forests Ministry has decided to send a ‘technical team' shortly for a spot study of the township near Pune, whose construction has been held up due to alleged environmental violations.

The Ministry will also submit its reply in the Mumbai High Court on January 10 in connection with a petition filed by Lavasa challenging the stay on construction ordered by the Ministry.

“A technical team of the Ministry will visit Lavasa soon,” Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh told journalists here on Wednesday.

The team is expected to make an assessment of the controversial Rs. 3,000- crore hill township project. The Ministry on November 25 ordered stoppage of work at the site, and Lavasa moved the court.

However, on December 14, the Ministry refused to lift its ‘stop-work' order, citing lack of clarity in the details submitted by the Lavasa and large-scale environmental degradation in the region.

The Ministry last week heard Lavasa and asked it to submit data in a fresh format before the matter could be decided on.

Along with Lavasa, representatives of Medha Patkar's National Alliance of People's Movements and local villagers presented their views on the project before the Ministry.

On the stay on construction of the Lavasa township being challenged, Mr. Ramesh said a reply would be submitted to the court on January 10.

Lavasa has alleged in the court that the November 25 show-cause, objecting to further development of the site, was issued in haste and without following the principles of natural justice.