The Bombay High Court on Tuesday pulled up the state government, the railways and the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) for not taking steps to safeguard the Parsik tunnel on the railway line near Mumbra.
A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice Vibha Kankanwadi raised concerns over the danger caused by illegal encroachments on and around the Parsik tunnel in Thane district. The court decided to take suo motu cognizance of the matter so that it can pass “appropriate orders to safeguard the tunnel and the lives of hundreds of passengers travelling through this tunnel by train.”
“Nobody is worried about the issue. Neither the government, the Central Railway nor the Thane Municipal Corporation. Last year, the encroachments resulted in a landslide affecting railway services. In the past one year, no authority has taken any steps to ensure that the incident is not repeated this monsoon,” Justice Oka said.
“The approach of all the authorities appears to be very casual and callous. Each authority is only shifting blame and responsibility on the other. Nobody wants to take any action,” Justice Oka said.
The court noted that since the authorities have failed to initiate any steps to safeguard the tunnel, it would initiate suo motu cognizance of the matter. “Due to the casual approach of the government, the civic body (Thane) and the railways, appropriate directions will have to be issued by the court to remedy the problem,” Justice Oka stated.
The court was hearing an application filed by the Central Railway and the central government seeking to vacate a July 2016 order of the High Court granting a stay on eviction of the hutments. Last June, after a landslide in the area, the Thane Municipal Corporation had issued eviction notices to the shanties on and around the Parsik tunnel at Mumbra in Thane.
Both railways and the government had in letters and other communications taken note of danger to life and property if any untoward incident took place owing to the illegal encroachments over Parsik tunnel, and did not rule out the possibility of another landslide.
“This shows a very sorry state of affairs. While we suggested to the authorities to look at moving people living in the tenements to a transit camp, none of them have come up with a concrete solution,” said the court. ENS