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Civic body has no concern for environment: HC

                                                                                                                    DNA, Mumbai, 10th May, 2013

The Bombay high court on Thursday came down heavily on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for allegedly violating several norms pertaining to Costal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and disturbing wetlands and mangroves at its Kanjurmarg dumping ground site.

A division bench of justices DY Chandrachud and AA Sayyed was aghast that BMC had taken over land beyond what is allowed to be used for them by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). “The civic body is incorrigible and has no concern for the environment and people,” the bench said.

The bench was informed by the petitioner Vanshakti, an NGO fighting against the irregularities, about the report of the Maharashtra State Coastal Zone Management Authority, which has mentioned that the BMC is using more than the allotted 65.96 hectares of land for dumping and filling activities.

It is also claiming wetland and mangrove patches at some locations are being affected due to the dumping. Moreover, due to improper construction of culverts tidal water is not reaching mangroves inside and adjoining the dumping ground, thus harming them.

The bench also considered the report of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), which has also mentioned about the waste processing being done by bio-reactor instead of the sanctioned Windrow composting method, this the MPCB said was being done without proper sanction from MoEF.

The bench was agitated at this blatant violations. “Who gave you the authority to change the waste management method? Are you not duty-bound to go to the ministry to get the approval?” it said.

The BMC replied that it had got the sanction from the Central Pollution Control Board for the use of the new technology. The court then said, “We won’t allow you to destroy the remaining environment; you are here for maintenance, not destruction.”

The court has now kept the matter for hearing on Friday and directed one of BMC’s senior officers to make a statement and inform the court whether it is using more land than allotted.

“If at all the civic body denies this, then it may tell the state government to go and measure the land being used. If any violation is found, the officer responsible for making the incorrect statement to the court will be personally held liable,” the bench said.