The Bombay High Court on Friday came down heavily on the Pune Municipal Corporation for not stopping the dumping of construction debris into the Mula-Mutha river.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by a 62-year-old architect, Sarang Yadwadkar, through advocate Ronita Bector.
The PIL included several photos of debris from the construction of Metro in Pune. The images displayed the neglect demonstrated by the Maharshtra Metro Rail Corporation at the sites of the Metro, the plea said, seeking a direction from the court to authorities to immediately clean the river of debris.
The court had earlier directed the PMC’s counsel to ask civic officials to visit the site and submit photographs. The photographs submitted in the court on Friday showed a portion of the river mainly covered by water hyacinth. Ms. Bector also submitted fresh photographs that showed construction debris had indeed been dumped into the water.
The PMC’s counsel said, “The debris must have been dumped by the contractor carrying out the Metro rail work.”
The HC, however, said the contractor was a private party, and it was the responsibility of the State and civic authorities to see that norms were not violated.
The Bench also said, “Immediate steps are needed. We will personally come to Pune and check. The State will have to ensure debris is removed. The entire stretch of the river is to be cleaned. The pictures by the petitioner show the river is on the verge of disappearance owing to the dumping of debris.”
The court then directed the PMC and the collector to submit a status report after carrying out the cleaning work.
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