The Maha state government on Tuesday scrapped the special planning authority status provided to Lavasa Corporation for development of the hill city Lavasa, near Varasgoan dam in Pune and about 220km from Mumbai.
Inspired by the Portofino area of Italy, Lavasa is being developed as a hill city spread over 25, 000 acres of land near Varasgoan dam in Pune district. The plan to create Lavasa Corporation was finalized by the then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh at a special cabinet meeting in 2008, and it was accorded a special planning authority status by the previous Congress-NCP government in 2008.
The Lavasa Hill City Project has been mired in controversy once it took off and is still under construction, with its development work coming to a halt in 2010 after the Union environment ministry imposed restrictions.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who chaired a war-room meeting on Tuesday wherein a the decision was taken, said that after formation of the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) 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 whatever construction had been done in line with rules in Lavasa will stay and any illegality or structures beyond approved norms will face action. “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.
Citing reasons for such a step, 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. A CAG report in 2012 had also suggested teh same action as it was “amounting to irregularities and environmental violations”, he added.