MUMBAI: In a major development, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday scrapped the Special Planning Authority (SPA) of Lavasa Corporation Ltd and handed over all rights of project approval to the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Corporation (PMRDA).
Lavasa is the real estate development arm of Ajit Gulabchand’s Hindustan Construction Company Limited (HCC), which had been mired in controversy over several issues, including allegations of misuse of SPA status.
Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar’s daughter MP Supriya Sule and her husband controlled more than 20 per cent of Lavasa’s ownership between 2002 and 2004 and the company, which has developed the first hill station of independent India near Pune, is considered Pawar’s brainchild. Hence, the development is being considered as a big jolt to Pawar.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while making the announcement, said, “Now, Lavasa will have to approach PMRDA to get all permissions, including construction, use of water from dam which is the property of the Water Resources Department and collection of taxes from owners in Lavasa, visitors and local tribal residents etc.”
An official from the Urban Development Department said, “As of today, only two towns have been developed by Lavasa and 18 are yet to be developed.”
State BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari hailed the decision and said, “Lavasa had violated many norms of environment, revenue and forest departments during the development of the city. It has been stopped by the CM’s decision.”
Bhandari added that there is huge corruption in Lavasa which would be exposed once its management starts approaching the PMRDA.
Bhandari along with environmental activist from Pune, Vishwambhar Choudhari, had filed a PIL against Lavasa.