MoEF’s Lavasa letter hardly suprising given recent allegations by EAC

The Hill Township being put up by the Lavasa Corporation literally had it coming in the last three months as it had been criticised multiple times by the expert appraisal committee (EAC) — the top advisory body within the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).

Despite a seemingly conciliatory tone adopted by the EAC three months ago, Lavasa had chosen not to withdraw its litigation in the Bombay High Court. The EAC, which had recommended allowing Lavasa to continue work on partically completed buildings in 613 hectares out of the total 5,000, withdrew its recommendation in April when it saw the company was in no mood to relent on its judicial appeal.

From then on, relations between MoEF (EAC), headed by Jairam Ramesh, and Lavasa Corporation have been on a downward spiral.

For example, early in April, the Committee expressed its displeasure after it was pointed out that Lavasa had altered its building plans by itself — thanks to its status as a ‘Special Planning Authority — and asked its parent ministry to ask the Maharashtra government to ascertain the exact details of its status.

Later in the same month, the Committee came down hard on Lavasa for calculating Floor Space Index — the ratio of constructed area to total land area — in a wrong way. It pointed out that Lavasa had included portions of the land that it should not have, to ensure that it got a high number for maximum permissible constructed area.

Under the FSI system, constructed area (area inside the buildings) can only be a certain percentage of the overall land area that you hold. Since Lavasa showed a higher land area than it was allowed to, the Committee said, it has come up with a bigger construction plan.

MoEF’s latest missive to the state government is hardly surprising, going by the deteriorating outlook that the Committee has been having of the city project.

Lavasa showed higher FSI : MoEF Committee

Environment ministry Committee seeks details of Lavasa’s special status

Lavasa may be allowed to continue after ‘heavy fine’

Medha Patkar’s NAPM welcomes the Lavasa report