The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit stating whether two ancient temples in Solapur district fell within the zone prohibited for excavation of sand from Bhima river bed.
According to Government Resolution (GR) of October 25,2010,which has framed rules for digging sand,the practice of (excavation of sand) can be allowed only at a distance of more than 100 metres from the temples.
The court has asked the government to find out whether the temples,Siddeshwar and Jatashankar located at Ardhanari village in Mohol taluka near the banks of Bhima river fell within the 100 metres area that prohibits excavation of sand.
The bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A A Sayed was hearing a PIL filed by Kailas Khadke who had challenged the award of a contract for excavation of sand to one Ayub Shaukat Ali,who was the highest bidder.
Counsel for the petitioner told the court that the two temples were declared ancient monuments by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and excavation of sand near the temples would pose danger to these places of worship.
The petitioner argued that the contractor who was awarded the contract and his associates were illegally excavating sand in connivance with the authorities like police,collector and tehsildar.
Khadke also alleged that excavation of sand has resulted in destruction of forest cover and that there was danger to ecosystem and bio-diversity of Bhima river at village Ardhanari.