The Maharashtra government has been asked by the Supreme Court to respond to a plea against its environmental clearance to the Hiranandani group's Hindustan Electricity Generation Co Pvt Ltd (HEGCPL) for its 355 MW gas-based power project at Maval in Pune.

A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Chandramauli K Prasad issued notices to the state government and others, asking them to file their replies within two weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on April 26.

"Issue notice...Counter affidavit may be filed within two weeks. Rejoinder affidavit, if any, may be filed within two weeks thereafter. Put up for further hearing on April 26,
2012," the bench said.

The bench order came on a plea by Navlakh Umbre Paryavaran Parisar Vikas Sangh, a group formed by the project- hit people of Navlakh Umbre and other adjacent villages, challenging the Bombay High Court order to the state government to grant environmental clearance for the project.

The petition said while giving clearance for the project, the social and environmental concerns were not addressed by the state.

While issuing notice to the state government, the apex court also said its March 1 order for keeping in "abeyance" the clearances given by the State Expert Appraisal Committee.

(SEAC) and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) of the Maharashtra government to the power project would continue.

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