Maharashtra Government Withdraws Special Status to Lavasa, India's First 'Private City'
The Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra has withdrawn the Special Planning Authority (SPA) granted to Lavasa Corporation, the entity constructing India’s first private city, located near Pune.
The SPA was granted nine years ago by the previous government to the Lavasa Corporation, the real estate development arm of engineering and construction firm Hindustan Construction Corporation.
The SPA accorded to Lavasa Corporation gave it powers similar to those enjoyed by public planning authorities. It could draw up land use plans and sanction development on its own, without having to approach government town planning agencies. Lavasa also enjoyed uninterrupted power supply.
Chief Minister Fadnavis has said that since the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority already exists, there was no need for another planning authority in the district. Lavasa will now have to approach the PMRDA for planning permissions.
Lavasa is a private city coming up near Pune, modelled on the Italian town Portofino. The 25,000-acre town has run into controversy with regards to alleged violation of environmental norms, land procurement and financing.
In 2012, the Comptroller and Auditor General highlighted irregularities surrounding the Lavasa project and said that no expert study had been conducted while selecting the location. The CAG report said that private interest, rather than public good, was the driving force behind the project