India denies nod to $31 billion hill station project

October 15, 2011
View of the main highway linking the Indian cities of Mumbai to Pune. India's environment ministry has refused to clear the first phase of construction of a $31-billion "planned city" in the newest development row to flare in the fast-expanding economy.

India's environment ministry has refused to clear the first phase of construction of a $31-billion "planned city" in the newest development row to flare in the fast-expanding economy.

The Lavasa township project is India's first hill station since independence in 1947 and has been hailed by its backers as a blueprint for building future cities, as the country's population explodes and urbanisation increases.

The environment ministry said late Friday it could not approve the first phase of the project in western India until all environmental pre-conditions were met for building what the backers say is India's first "planned city".

The conditions included setting aside land as open spaces and the creation of an environment restoration fund.

India's environment ministry, once seen as a rubber stamp, has become significantly more active in the last few years in policing whether projects are abiding by environmental rules.

Lavasa Corp, 65-percent owned by infrastructure giant Hindustan Construction Corp, slammed the ministry's refusal to give clearance as "highly discriminatory and unjust".

Map of India locating Lavasa, a planned hill station near Mumbai. India's environment ministry has refused to clear the first phase of construction of a $31-billion "planned city" in the newest development row to flare in the fast-expanding economy.

The 1.4-trillion-rupee project ($31 billion) has been battling a slew of accusations, ranging from controversial procurement of land and damage to the environment.

The project has been under construction since 2004 but the ministry has said the developers began building without getting environmental clearance. Lavasa has argued it was not required to seek clearance.

Development in India has become a hugely controversial issue as the country urbanises and industrialises in its quest to create more jobs for its youthful 1.2-billion population and help lift millions out of poverty.

Several multi-billion-dollar projects and countless smaller ones have been held up for years because of protests over land acquisition, causing increasing concern among domestic and .

Lavasa, set in a hilly lakeside region near the city of Pune, is planned to ultimately house at least 300,000 residents. Dasve, the first leg of the five-phase development, was initially slated to be finished this year.

The troubles began for Lavasa last November when the environment ministry wrote to the developer asking why the existing construction should not be razed due to environmental violations.

Explore further: Russia, Finland sign Nord Stream agreement

Related Stories

Russia, Finland sign Nord Stream agreement

December 10, 2010

Russia vowed Friday to keep Finland fully informed about the environmental impact from the controversial Nord Stream natural gas pipeline to Europe it is currently building under the Baltic Sea.

Mexico approves GM maize pilot project

March 9, 2011

Mexico has approved its first pilot project to grow genetically-modified (GM) maize, a move expected to draw fire from environmental groups who fear its impact on treasured local corn.

Japan backs firms' green city projects abroad

January 6, 2011

Japan is financially backing its companies that are seeking to build "green cities" -- communities with low pollution and renewable energies -- in India and elsewhere, a report said Thursday.

China: Will ensure stimulus protects environment

June 5, 2009

(AP) -- China said Friday it will strictly monitor the government's economic stimulus package for projects that cause pollution, addressing worries that officials would ignore the environment in an effort to maintain China's ...

Recommended for you

Google Assistant adds more languages in global push

February 23, 2018

Google said Friday its digital assistant software would be available in more than 30 languages by the end of the years as it steps up its artificial intelligence efforts against Amazon and others.

Researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected

February 20, 2018

Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace ...

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ThanderMAX
not rated yet Oct 15, 2011
I am Indian.. never knew about this place before !!!

Looks good place to be
Nexus789
1 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2011
With population out of control and finite resources (failing water table) collapse is inevitable no matter what they do. Should have instigated population control and management in the 40's and 50's.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.