Lavasa

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Lavasa
city
View of Lavasa hills
View of Lavasa hills
Lavasa is located in Maharashtra
Lavasa
Lavasa
Location in Maharashtra, India
Coordinates: 18°24′19″N 73°30′23″E / 18.40528°N 73.50627°E / 18.40528; 73.50627Coordinates: 18°24′19″N 73°30′23″E / 18.40528°N 73.50627°E / 18.40528; 73.50627
Country  India
State Maharashtra
District Pune
Area
 • Total 100 km2 (40 sq mi)
Elevation 640 m (2,100 ft)
Languages
 • Official Marathi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 412107
Website www.lavasa.com

Lavasa (Marathi: लवासा) is a private,[1] planned city being built near Pune.[2]

A 25,000 acres (100 km2)[1] or 8,000 acres (32 km2)[3] project being developed by HCC,[4] this as-yet-incomplete city has been controversial for multiple reasons including procurement of land,[5] harm to the environment,[1] and loans acquired through political corruption.[6]

In late 2010 the Indian Environment and Forests ministry ordered that construction cease because the project violated environmental laws.[7] As of late 2011, this order has been rescinded.[8] The project's scale may have been reduced, however, and an initial public offering may not occur.[8] The head of the company building the project said in 2013 that due to the Environment and Forest Ministry the project had "lost three years."[9]

Lavasa is now a popular tourist landmark for residents from Pune city as well as Mumbai.

Lavasa is also popular among enthusiastic motorcyclists due to the twisty roads present in the "Mutha ghat" all the way through to the "Temghar-Lavasa ghat". On most weekends, one can see motorcyclists (often in a group) riding hard through the twisties.

History[edit]

Fortune Hotel, Lavasa

Billed as India's newest hill station since Independence,[10] this private city is being constructed by Lavasa Corporation, a unit of Ajit Gulabchand's Hindustan Construction Company.[11]

Land[edit]

The area demarcated for Lavasa is located near Pune in the Mose valley[5] of the Western Ghats.[12]

Current progress[edit]

Construction of two out of the five planned towns is ongoing, and a number of residences have been completed as of 2013.[9] By 2011 four hotels and a city centre were completed.[13] A primary, middle, and high school, Le Mont High, has been constructed as well.[14] Le Mont allows children of Lavasa residents to be educated inside the city's walls.[14] The town also boasts a hospitality management college that is an overseas extension of the École hôtelière de Lausanne of Switzerland, École hôtelière Lavasa.[15]

Administration[edit]

Scot Wrighton is the administrator of the city as of 2011.[16]

Surrounding villages[edit]

Smaller, preexisting communities sometimes interact with Lavasa and its residents. Some have been the focus of CSR efforts,[17] and villagers provide construction labor to the project.[18]

Future plans[edit]

Lavasa has established a pattern of promoting planned partnerships with prestigious, overseas institutions that do not, ultimately, see fruition. Oxford University had at one time attached itself to the project, but other, name-brand plans including future sports facilities have yet to be officially cancelled.

The city has a better track record when it comes to construction; some sections are complete today. It is thought that Lavasa will not be finished before 2020, however.[19] After fully built, its total population may be 200,000,[20] and it will comprise four or five towns built on seven hills.[21] The first of these, Dasve, was initially slated to be complete by 2010[10] although some residences there were still under construction as of 2013.[9] Mugaon, the second town, may be finished in 2013,[19] and as of May, 2013, construction continues.[9] Work on this town began in mid-2012.[22] In 2013 the chairman of the construction company building the project confirmed that Lavasa will include four large towns and one low-cost town.[9]

Sports facilities[edit]

Planned sports facilities include a Nick Faldo-designed golf course and a Manchester City-branded football academy.[23]

However, the Nick Faldo website no longer touts the golf course,[24] and a 2010 press release is the sole communication Manchester City has made in reference to a football academy.

Theme park[edit]

A theme park of over 65 acres (0.26 km2) in size is planned.[25]

Education[edit]

Lavasa may go on to host one university.[12] Initially partnering with Oxford University,[26][27] by 2010 this British institution had removed itself from the project.[20] As of 2010, Symbiosis International University is planning to set up a new liberal arts college campus at the township.[28]

Other facilities[edit]

A 200 acre health and wellness center[26] and an herb plantation[29] are also planned.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Lavasa has won several awards for its plans and designs. In 2005 Dasve village in Lavasa won awards from the Congress for the New Urbanism and the American Society of Landscape Architects.[30] In 2009 the St. Louis chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects recognised the Lavasa landscape master plan with a merit award.[31]

Controversies[edit]

Environmental damage[edit]

An Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests team investigating Lavasa concluded the city has caused environmental damage.[1][32] Post reviewing the project, this ministry provided clearance on 9 November 2011 to Lavasa with specific conditions, such as a cessation of hill cutting activities, building of a sewage treatment plant, and anti-poverty CSR measures aimed at the local population.[33]

Quarrying[edit]

While Lavasa has stone crushing permits, its operations have been described as "hill cutting" and "quarrying" by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the environmental impact of these activities was investigated.[34]

Land acquisition[edit]

Both government and individual land owners have taken issue with Lavasa's land acquisition approach.

A report by the Maharashtra environment department claims 600 hectares (6.0 km2) of land bought by Lavasa Corporation was purchased from farmers who had been granted it by the Indian State. Because of the way in which the farmers obtained the land, three fourths of the purchase price should have been paid to the State. The report states Lavasa Corporation only paid 2%. It also alleges 141 hectares (350 acres) of Lavasa were leased for far less than actual value by the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation and that Lavasa bought 98 hectares (240 acres) of land without license.[35]

Some say land Lavasa is being built on was obtained through coercion.[5] Lavasa Corporation denies this.[13]

Use of water resources[edit]

Lavasa will use the same water resources that currently supply Pune, and it is claimed that this will cause a supply shortage.[29] A 2011 report by the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Environment Ministry concluded there will be no impact on Pune's water supply, however.[36]

Orders to halt construction[edit]

For a one year period from late 2010 to late 2011, construction of Lavasa had to be halted due to orders issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.[8] In late 2010 it ordered Lavasa Corporation to halt further construction for not having gathered proper clearances.[7] In November 2011 this ministry relented, and construction is no longer impeded by law.[8] While grant of an environmental clearance was recommended in May 2011, Lavasa was only alerted to the fact that clearance was granted on 9 November 2011.[37]

Nepotism[edit]

Sharad Pawar, an Indian politician born in the state of Maharashtra, is alleged to have demanded compensation for allowing Lavasa to be constructed. When Lavasa Corporation was receiving necessary clearances from the government of Maharashtra, relatives of Pawar had part-ownership of the company developing the project.[38] Pawar's daughter and son-in-law had more than 20% ownership between 2002 and 2004, and they later sold their stakes.[13] A nephew of his was chairman of Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation when it signed off on lease agreements for Lavasa and allowed Lavasa to store water and build dams.[38]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "India rules hill city 'illegal'". BBC. 19 January 2011 Last updated at 00:57 ET.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "UPDATE 1-India ministry sets terms to consider Lavasa approval". Reuters. 18 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Biomimicry: Architecture That Imitates Life". harvardmagazine.com. September–October 2009. 
  4. ^ "Lavasa Corporation Ltd: India's First Planned Hill City Deploys Portal Solution to Empower Employees; Increases Collaboration and Efficiency". microsoft.com. 31 May 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c Jamwal, Nidhi (15 September 2008). "Howl of the hills". downtoearth.org.in. 
  6. ^ "Suzlon, Lavasa among named in India bribery scam-reports". Reuters. 25 November 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Environment Ministry asks Lavasa to halt project". The Economic Times. 26 November 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c d HCC to revamp Lavasa finances, decide on IPO reuters.com, 13 November 2011
  9. ^ a b c d e Everything is back on table including Lavasa IPO: HCC moneycontrol.com, 29 May 2013
  10. ^ a b "India's newest hill station builds for the future". AFP news hosted by google.com. 15 September 2009. 
  11. ^ "HCC's Lavasa court hearing adjourned for 6 weeks". Reuters. 27 January 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Ferguson, Tim (20 December 2010). "A Stop in India's Lavasa". Forbes. 
  13. ^ a b c Byatnal, Amruta (31 October 2010). "Symbolic of luxury, Lavasa is built on irregularities". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  14. ^ a b From the Head of School's Desk Le Mont High official site. Retrieved 31 August 2011
  15. ^ Ecole Hoteliere Lavasa ecolehotelierelavasa.com
  16. ^ Kahn, Jeremy (7 June 2011). "India Invents a City". The Atlantic. Atlantic Media. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Lavasa Corporation provides school uniforms to underprivileged students from the local community". Lavasa Corporation. HCC. January 25, 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  18. ^ Dinghe, S (Feb 22, 2011). "Villagers from 14 hamlets supporting Lavasa stage protest". DNA. Diligent Media Corporation Ltd. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "The hills are alive with the sound of controversy". Business Standard. 7 September 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Thekaekara, Tarsh. "The great urban juggernaut". New Internationalist. Retrieved 9 February 2011. 
  21. ^ For four towns, see Discover Lavasa: Master Plan; A vision becomes reality Lavasa Official Site
  22. ^ "Medha Patkar will hold the torch at Lavasa camp". Pune Mirror. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  23. ^ For the golf course, see Faldo signs ‘stunning’ Indian course design project nickfaldo.com, 8 June 2009 cached
  24. ^ Your search yielded no results, nickfaldo.com, retrieved 2013-09-13 
  25. ^ "Lavasa to host SpaceWorld, Asia's first space edutainment centre at Rs400 crore investment". The Financial Express (The Indian Express Limited). 21 January 2009. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  26. ^ a b A modern township nestled in the Sahyadris Business Line.in, 2008/06/22
  27. ^ Oxford dragged into ‘land-grab’ scam The Hindu, by Hasan Suroor. Monday, 31 August 2009
  28. ^ Symbiosis to start liberal arts institute. The Indian Express, 4 March 2010
  29. ^ a b Water being diverted to Lavasa, alleges Patkar, The Indian Express, 8 July 2009
  30. ^ For Congress for the New Urbanism award, see Charter Awards: Past Winners Congress for the New Urbanism Official Website
  31. ^ The 2009 St. Louis Chapter of ASLA Award Winners stlouisasla.org
  32. ^ "Maharashtra govt gets MoEF order for action against Lavasa". Business Standard. 11 June 2011. 
  33. ^ Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest Website
  34. ^ Byatnal, Amruta (18 February 2011). "Lavasa under scanner for quarrying". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  35. ^ "SHOWCAUSE NOTICE: JAIRAM ORDERS WORK TO STOP – Lavasa lands in trouble for flouting green laws". The Economic Times. 27 November 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2011. 
  36. ^ Lavasa showed higher FSI : Jairam Ramesh's MoEF Committee rtn.asia, 24 May 2011
  37. ^ Bhawan, Paryavaran (9 November 2011). "Environmental Clearance for the Development of Hill Station Township at Village Mulshi and Velhe Talukas, District Pune, Maharashtra my M/s. Lavasa Corporation Ltd. —regarding.". New Delhi: Government of India Ministry of Environment and Forests. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  38. ^ a b Vaidya, Abhay (26 December 2010). "Lavasa trail reinforces the Sharad Pawar connection & IPL link". Pune: DNA. Retrieved 21 February 2011.