There are plans to develop three hill city projects in the Mulshi-Mawal-Velhe belt in Pune district.These, along with Lavasa and Aamby Valley, are part of the biodiversity-rich Sahyadri region.
A private firm, Maharashtra Valley View Private Limited (MVVPL), has evinced interest in developing resorts, holiday homes and a township in villages falling under Mulshi taluka under special regulations formulated for hill stations in 1996. Despite questions being raised by activists and concerns expressed by the state level expert appraisal committee (SEAC) of the Union environment ministry, the state urban development (UD) department on May 19 issued a notification designating revenue land in seven villages in Mulshi as “hill station”.
While MVVPL will seek to develop the hill station project in the villages of Saltar, Mazgaon, Barpe Bhu, Barmbarde, Ekole, Ghutke and Adgaon, sources say another firm, Satind Infrastructure, has evinced interest in developing parts of nearby Talbela, Sakarand and Mazgaon. A third company, Aqualand India Private Limited, has reportedly shown interest in developing land in the Panshet, Varasgaon, Khadakwasla dam, Mulshi, Mugaon, Lawarde, Wegere, Sakhari, Dasave and adjoining areas.
For the first project, the notification would facilitate the acquisition of land and submission of a formal proposal for clearance under the policy norms, officials said. Clearance to the project will be granted after the terms and conditions of the government are met, they added. While the policy requires a developer to possess a minimum of 1,000 acres to undertake development, officials say the firm’s plans span over 5,000 acres.
Sources said the process of designating land required for the other two projects was pending with the UD department. The Aqualand proposal has been pending since 2005, say officials.
On Tuesday, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, endorsing the latest notification,said it was in accordance with the hill station policy. “Clearances are being given in keeping with rules and regulations of the policy.” In a reference to the Lavasa project, Chavan said: “Mistakes committed in the past while granting clearances to projects such as Lavasa will not be repeated.”
The government is firm that the new projects will not be granted special planning authority status. The UD department has also imposed a set of 20 conditions, which include a commitment on the exclusion of gaothan areas and government forest land. It has also said unauthorized construction will result in immediate withdrawal of permissions.
Conditions For Notified Project In Mulshi
Exclusion of government forest and gaothan areas
Deletion of land acquired under Private Forest Land Act
Clearances from MoEF
No-objection from forest,irrigation & industries depts
No construction permissible on land at a height of over 1,000 m.
No FSI permissible for such land
Ownership of land has to be shown before taking up project