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PIL filed against govt move to change river regulation zone

Pointing at the condition of the rivers in the state, environmentalist said pollution was a major concern.

City-based environmentalist Vishwambhar Choudhari has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court challenging the state government’s decision to change the river regulation zone(RRZ) policy. Chaudhari has asked the court for the quashing of the regulation as it would have detrimental effect on the environment at large.

Instituted in 2000, the RRZ had banned industrial activity within two kilometres of the high flood zone of river basins. Industries across the state have been talking against the RRZ and had asked for it to be scrapped. Environmentalists on the other hand had wanted the policy as a deterrent to river pollution. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s government had taken the decision to scrap the RRZ on February 3. Fadnavis in his public engagements said the RRZ was preventing the growth of industries in the state and it would be brought at par with the national RRZ.

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Chaudhari, in his plea, has said the cancellation of the policy without calling for suggestions and objections was a “malafide exercise of power”. He went to argue that the policy was scrapped without expert consultation and application of mind. “When the policy was first introduced the government had called for suggestions and objections but while scrapping it, no such action was taken,” he said.

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Pointing at the condition of the rivers in the state, Chaudhari said pollution was a major concern. The policy, he said, was to prevent the same. Citing media reports, Chaudhari said, the chief minister had claimed that the RRZ was scrapped to help in expansion of industries. “Proper balance should be maintained between industrialisation and environment. Increase in pollution levels will result in deterioration of standard of life,” he said.

The state government, the activist alleged, went ahead to change the RRZ without waiting for the natinal policy. “Without waiting for a nationwide policy to be framed and being put in place, Government of Maharashtra has hastily withdrawn the current RRZ policy which was in force for the last 14 years without giving any compelling reason for such an extreme expediency,” he said.

First published on: 22-02-2015 at 12:00:45 am
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