The Environment Ministry has refused to lift its "stop work” order on the controversial Lavasa Lake City project in Maharashtra. A final decision on the fate of the project — which has been accused of violating green norms — will be taken by the end of the month after another hearing with the company on December 22.

This order came just two days ahead of the hearing of the case at the Bombay High Court which had asked the Ministry to decide by December 16 whether construction at the site should be allowed, after the company had appealed against the "stop work" order issued last month.

Non-compliance

In its latest order dated December 14, the Ministry noted that Lavasa “had not been able to show compliance” with the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 1994, and its subsequent amendments in 2004 and 2006. Although Lavasa obtained approvals from the State government, these notifications required it to obtain a clearance from the Central government. The Ministry's order also noted the “large-scale environmental degradation” being caused by the project, including the impact of construction activities on a reservoir providing drinking water for the city of Pune.

“[The] Ministry is of the considered opinion that the directions issued under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to Lavasa Corporation Ltd. on November 25 to stop project activities going on at the site should continue till the final analysis is undertaken,” said the order. A final order “could be expected on or before December 31.”

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