A bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) slammed the irrigation department over construction of a road on the Mutha river bed near Vithalwadi. Irrigation department officials had earlier informed the court that the department was considering to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the construction.
City-based architect Sarang Yadwadkar filed a petition in the NGT pertaining to the environmental damages the construction of a road along the Mutha river will cause.
The road near Vithalwadi is being constructed by the Pune Municipal Corporation over the last two years in phases. In the petition,Yadwadkar mentions the construction work violates the blue floodline where no construction is allowed. It also violates a circular issues by the state government in this regard in 1998.
Lawyer Asim Sarode,who was representing the petitioner,said the tribunal chairperson came down heavily on irrigation department officials.
Who authorised you to construct the road? Why was the state government directive issued in 1998 bypassed by the irrigation department, the judge asked Avinash Surve,Chief Engineer (Irrigation),Pune.
Sarode said the irrigation department had earlier filed an affidavit claiming that the construction of the road will bring down the flood carrying capacity of the river by 25 per cent. Later,the irrigation department changed its position informing the tribunal that it was considering to grant the NOC. Sarode said that the PMCs submission to the tribunal that the road is essential as it will minimise the traffic from the Pune-Bangalore highway doesnt hold any water.
The PMC is misguiding the tribunal. In fact,just parallel to this new road there is another road which can well serve the purpose and theres no need for this road, he said.
Earlier,the tribunal had put a stay on the construction and had issued notices to all the respondents,including the civic body,Maharashtra Pollution Control Board,Irrigation Department and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission in this regard.
Later,the court had also issued a bailable warrant against three government agencies for encroachment of the river and pollution.