Tribunal to begin final hearing in Lavasa cases on Dec 4

THE National Green Tribunal will begin the final hearing of Lavasa Corporation Limited's appeal challenging the conditions imposed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests from December 4 on a day-to-day basis.

The NGT will also begin hearing the final arguments in an appeal filed by farmer Dnyaneshwar Shedge challenging the MoEF's clearance given to Lavasa on the same dates.

The NGT Bench of expert member D K Agarwal and judicial member Justice V R Kingaonkar in an order last week stated, "The matters are fixed for final hearing on December 4, 2012 with clear understanding that if hearing is required to be taken further, it will continue."

"While these are two different appeals concerning Lavasa, they will be heard on the same dates on day-to-day basis," said advocate Ritwick Dutta, representing Shedge.

Lavasa, through its lawyers Rishi Agarwal and Megha Mehta Agrawala, in its appeal filed in 2011 had questioned the applicability of Environment Impact Assessment notification, 2006, requiring environmental clearance from the MoEF on the project. On November 9, 2011, the MoEF had granted environment clearance to the phase-1 of Lavasa subject to "strict compliance" of certain terms and conditions. The MoEF had listed 47 conditions on Lavasa, including having a separate budget for community development activities. After the MoEF granted the clearance, Shedge though his lawyers Dutta and Rahul Choudhary, had challenged it in April. The NGT had directed Lavasa, MoEF and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to file their replies in July. Shedge had alleged that the MoEF's environmental clearance to Lavasa Lake city project was 'arbitrary'.

The NGT circuit Bench in Pune is not functioning for the past two months. "So, the hearing will be held in Delhi," said Dutta.

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