November 20, 2014 2:06:06 am
After the controversy-hit Lavasa and Aamby Valley, construction of Maharashtra’s next new lakeside hill township could begin soon in Pune’s Mulshi taluka, with the state environment authority granting environmental clearances.
The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) recently gave clearance for land and infrastructure development for the new hill station, spread over 5,914 acres. The project is proposed by the Mumbai-based Maharashtra Valley View Pvt Ltd (MVVPL).
This would be the first new hill station to come up after Lavasa and Aamby Valley under the Maharashtra’s government 18-year-old policy to build new hill stations.
The SEIAA is the final authority in appraising real estate, industrial and commercial projects in the state after they are screened by the State Environment Appraisal Committees (SEAC) operating under it. The authority gave environment clearance to the new hill station project during its meeting held on October 29.
Medha Gadgil, additional chief secretary for environment in the Maharashtra government and a member of the SEIAA, said, “We have been very cautious while giving approval to the project. That is why we have given the approval only for the basic land and infrastructure development and not a blanket clearance for all construction. Once they construct the basic infrastructure, we will see as to how much load the area can take. The SEAC had scrutinised the project for 11 meetings and they have come up with an exhaustive list of conditions considering the eco-system.”
Accordingly, the clearance is restricted only to the extent of development of roads and related infrastructure such as electricity, telecommunication, transportation, water reservoirs, landfills and so on. The MVVPL will have to approach the authority again with layout plans and structural details of each proposed unit with the approval of the local planning authority to obtain approvals for further construction. The Floor Space Index considerations would be worked out separately based on land uses and approvals from the planning authorities, the SEIAA has said.
MVVPL had applied for environment clearance for the project in December 2010. Two SEACs scrutinised the project from September 2011 and July 2013, and again from January 2014 to May 2014, before it came for approval to the SEIAA. The project was much deliberated upon by the SEACs as it falls under an environmentally sensitive region in the Western Ghats.
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