The Bombay High Court Wednesday asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) how it will handle any calamity during monsoon in Mumbai if it has such a “lethargic” approach towards finalising a site to set up a doppler weather radar system here.
BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta was also present in the High Court as per its previous order.
“How does the BMC expect to handle calamity in the city of Mumbai? We request the BMC commissioner to indicate a date for a meeting to be held by the improvement committee on this matter. A final decision should be taken so that the BMC can tell us what their next course of action is,” said Chief Justice Manjula Chellur.
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A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak was hearing a public interest litigation by advocate Atal Bihari Dubey on the heavy rains that brought Mumbai to a halt in June this year.
Taking note of what had happened in the city in the past, the court added, “I don’t want Mumbai to go dark again like in the past during monsoon. Life came to a standstill then. I don’t want people of Mumbai to suffer. The city requires for this doppler radar system to be set up immediately,” said the court.
Mehta informed the court that he has granted sanction to set up the system at the site identified by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the proposal would be placed before the Improvement Committee, and then it will have to be placed before the General Body for final approval.
Appearing for the BMC, senior counsel S U Kamdar, however, pointed out that a portion of the site has been demarcated for setting up a reservoir to supply drinking water to the city in the development plan.
“We want the committee to hold a meeting immediately and also ensure that IMD officials are also included in the meeting. The civic body has already wasted a lot of time by not following court orders and not fulfilling commitments made by it before us,” said Chief Justice.
The High Court has now posted the matter for further hearing next week and has asked Mehta to remain present for the hearing.
While there is one doppler radar system in Colaba weather station, a state government appointed committee had recommended for setting up of another system in suburban Mumbai.
The bench pointed to the assurance given by the BMC on September 1 that the site would be handed over to the IMD within eight weeks.
“How did the corporation make such an assurance when it has not even approved the handing over of land? Should we initiate contempt against the concerned officer? If a senior officer goes behind jail for one day for contempt only then the system would improve,” said the court.
The court observed that such assurances and submissions are made “just to escape from the court on that day and then nothing is done till the court raises the issue”.
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