No environmental damage in Lavasa construction: Minister

Mumbai : No environmental damage was caused during the construction of Lavasa lake city in Pune district, the Maharashtra government told the assembly today.

There was no environmental damage during the construction of Lavasa lake city, Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said in a written reply in the lower house.

The picturesque hill station, located around 60km from the Pune city and built from scratch, has been mired in controversies ever since it was conceptualised and work on it began over a decade ago.

The ambitious project, executed by a leading private construction company, faced allegations of rampant tree felling, violation of several environmental laws and forceful acquisition of land from owners.

A few years ago, the Union Environment and Forests Ministry stopped work on the project, being built in phases within the Western Ghat ranges, over alleged violation of green norms. It later gave a go-ahead for the project, but put several conditions to safeguard environment.

In May this year, Lavasa was brought under the purview of the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA). This meant approval to any development in the hill station project will be cleared by the PMRDA.

Earlier, the city enjoyed the status of Special Planning Authority (SPA) which allowed it to manage its own affairs.