The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) would file criminal proceedings against Lavasa Corporation tomorrow in a Pune magistrate's court under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. In line with the recent order of the high court here, a decision in this regard was taken by the state environment department today, after seeking opinion of state law and judiciary department.
The proceedings would not be initiated against any state officials, as desired by some of the petitioners in the case. It would be against Lavasa Corporation for alleged violation of the EPA, by illegal development at the hill city project in Pune district. MPCB, after filing the proceedings, would communicate it to the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). The latter had asked the state government, in a letter on June 10, to act in this regard.
Lavasa Corporation declined to comment. The company has consistently said permission to develop the proposed hill station on the entire 18,000 acres was accorded by the Maharashtra government at various points.
Apart from the large investment incurred so far, the company argues the development carried out was within an area for which environment clearance from the state government had been granted. And, that the activity was within the ambit of law and posed no danger to the environment.
Some ministers and leaders of the ruling Congress party were pressing for criminal proceedings against officials, too. In doing so, they were targeting certain leaders from their governing partner, the Nationalist Congress Party. However, the law and judiciary department did not approve.