Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Govt may retain Lavasa’s special status with riders

Mumbai: The state government might retain the special planning authority (SPA) status granted to Lavasa with some riders.

Last year, a report from the state urban development (UD) department had recommended revocation of the special status.

An alternate option of retaining the status while appointing a government nominated official as its chief officer is now being considered. A committee appointed to review the status has sought a feedback from Lavasa Corporation regarding the new option, sources revealed.

The SPA status gives an entity the power to draw up land use plans, develop land in its jurisdiction and sanction building and development plans. Such a status is usually granted to government undertakings.

A report by the UD last year had recommended revocation of the status. The report had cited an opinion from the union UD ministry, which had said that “Maharashtra was the only state that had granted such a status to a private company and that it should not set such a precedent”.

In 2012, the Comptroller and Auditor General too had questioned the SPA status granted to Lavasa.

Even as the committee is yet to submit its final report, sources said that its members feel revoking the special status entirely might be difficult. The option of appointing a statenominated person to head the SPA will increase its accountability towards the government, an official said requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Lavasa Corporation could be granted a say in local governance matters. Sources said the option of allowing the private agency to take up road development and maintenance, water supply and sewerage disposal, for all areas falling in the hill city’s notified region was under consideration.

These works are at present undertaken by the respective gram panchayats. The private firm, which pays property taxes to the gram panchayats, had complained of lack of services provided by them.
Sandeep Ashar TNN

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