In a major order, the Bombay High Court Monday restrained Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) from giving any further permission for residential and commercial constructions, saying they first need to tackle their garbage dumping problem.
The state government got directions from Justices N H Patil and V L Achaliya who asked the state not to grant further permissions till further orders. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) was asked to bring errant civic officials to book. In addition, state was directed to issue directions to KDMC and Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority for solving the issue.
A public interest litigation, being heard by the HC for the past six years, talks about plans for a waste treatment plant to be set up by the KDMC lying in limbo for want of sanction over 15 years.
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“There were mangroves on the banks of Ulhas river that are destroyed because of 150 millions of litres of untreated sewage water thrown by the KDMC into it with the rampant dumping of municipal solid waste,” the PIL filed through lawyer Bharat Khanna alleged.
The KDMC is using a dumping ground at Aadharwadi for dumping of municipal waste from the two townships without any
authorisation. This brazen illegality is continued by a public body in defiance of all the governing provisions of law, the court said in 2013.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) had granted its authorisation for the use of another dumping ground facility at Umbarde. However, according to the KDMC, the facility could not be set up since the tendering process which was initiated could not be taken to its logical conclusion.
Kaustubha Gokhale who filed the petition says, that only a couple of kilometers away from the Adharwadi dumping ground, along the banks of Ulhas River, is a small village called Kachore.
Nearly 2,000 people, for whom fishing was the only source of livelihood, fell victim to the pollution in Ulhas River, said the PIL. “The fish in the river are now in negligible quantity due to water pollution because of 150 millions litre of untreated sewage water dumped in by KDMC for over 20 years. Even mangroves have been killed due to the rampant dumping of solid waste,” the PIL claims.
The court was also informed that the garbage dumped per day exceeded 500 million tonnes. The Adharwadi Dumping, where dumping space has already been exhausted is still being used for garbage disposal.
“The capacity of Adharwadi dumping ground is already exhausted as per environment status report. As a result, great deal of pollution is caused and the coastal and environment ecological balance is greatly disturbed,” said the petitioner. The mounds of garbage easily exceed 30 to 40 feet and is till on the rise, added the petition.
Despite several court orders from the court, the issue remained unresolved. The HC last time asked all concerned officials to be present and after noting there was no solution in the offing, passed the order.