Lavasa is a private, planned city being built near Pune. It is stylistically based on the Italian town Portofino, with a street and several buildings bearing the name of that town. A 25,000 acres (100 km2) or 8,000 acres (32 km2) project being developed by HCC, this as-yet-incomplete city has been controversial for multiple reasons including procurement of land, harm to the environment, and loans acquired through political corruption. In late 2010, the Indian Environment and Forests Ministry ordered that construction cease because the project violated environmental laws. As of late 2011, this order has been rescinded.The project's scale may have been reduced, however, and an initial public offering may not occur. The head of the company building the project said in 2013 that due to the Environment and Forests Ministry the project had "lost three years". Billed as India's first hill station since Independence, this private city is being constructed by a unit of Ajit Gulabchand's Hindustan Construction Company. The architectural team responsible for the design of the town wants it be an imitation of an Italian hill-side town. Land: The area demarcated for Lavasa is located near Pune in the Mulshi valley of the Western Ghats. Current progress: Construction of two out of the five planned towns is ongoing, and a number of residences have been completed as of 2013. By 2011 four hotels and a city centre were completed. A primary, middle, and high school, Le Mont High, has been constructed as well. The town also boasts a hospitality management college, École hôtelière Lavasa. Administration: Scot Wrighton is the administrator of the city as of 2011. Surrounding villages: Smaller, pre-existing communities sometimes interact with Lavasa and its residents. Some have been the focus of CSR efforts, and villagers provide construction labour to the project. Future plans: 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. When fully built, its total population may be 200,000, and it will comprise four or five towns built on seven hills. The first of these, Dasve, was initially slated to be complete by 2010 although some residences there were still under construction as of 2013. Mugaon, the second town, may be finished in 2013, and as of May, 2013, construction continues. Work on this town began in mid-2012. In 2013, the chairman of the construction company building the project confirmed that Lavasa will include four large towns and one low-cost town. Sports facilities: Planned sports facilities include a Nick Faldo-designed golf course and a Manchester City-branded football academy. However, the Nick Faldo website no longer touts the golf course, and a 2010 press release is the sole communication Manchester City has made in reference to a football academy. Theme park: A theme park of over 65 acres (0.26 km2) in size is planned. Education: Lavasa may go on to host one university. Initially partnering with Oxford University, by 2010 this British institution had removed itself from the project. As of 2010, Symbiosis International University is planning to set up a new liberal arts college campus at the township. Other facilities: A 200-acre health and wellness centre and an herb plantation are also planned. Awards and recognition: 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. In 2009, the St. Louis chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects recognised the Lavasa landscape master plan with a merit award. Controversies: An Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests team investigating Lavasa concluded the city has caused environmental damage. 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. Quarrying: 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. In 2014, Mrs. Jayanti Natarajan in her open letter to Congress president stated that she had got a specific input from Mr. Rahul Gandhi's office to stall the project. Land acquisition: 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. Some say land Lavasa is being built on was obtained through coercion. Lavasa Corporation denies this. Use of water resources: Lavasa will use the same water resources that currently supply Pune, and it is claimed that this will cause a supply shortage. 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. Orders to halt construction: 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. In late 2010, it ordered Lavasa Corporation to halt further construction for not having gathered proper clearances. 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. Nepotism: 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. Pawar's daughter and son-in-law had more than 20% ownership between 2002 and 2004, and they later sold their stakes. 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.

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