Clear construction debris from river, will come to check it: HC to Pune officials

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Mumbai, Jul 9 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Friday took to task Pune municipal authorities over the latter's failure to stop the dumping of construction debris into Mula Mutha river.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni asked the district collector and the civic body to immediately clear the river of such debris, and said it will personally visit Pune to check if it had been been removed.

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Sarang Yadwadkar through advocate Ronita Bector.

The petitioner had submitted photos to show that debris from the construction of the Pune metro rail project was being dumped into the river in breach of environmental norms.

The Pune municipal corporation (PMC) initially denied that debris was being dumped as alleged in the PIL.

The HC, however, directed the PMC's counsel Abhijit Kulkarni to ask the civic officials to visit the site and submit photographs.

While the authorities submitted a few photographs showing a portion of the river mainly covered by water hyacinth, the petitioner took fresh photograghs of the site, which showed that construction debris had indeed been dumped into the water.

Advocate Kulkarni then said the debris must have been dumped by the 'contractor carrying out the metro rail work'.

The HC said the contractor was a private party and it was the responsibility of the state and civic authorities to see that norms were not violated.

'Immediate steps are needed. We will personally come to Pune and check. The state will have to ensure debris is removed. The entire stretch of the river is to be cleaned. The pictures by the petitioner show the river is on the verge of disappearance owing to the dumping of debris,' the HC said.

The HC directed the PMC and the collector to submit a status report after carrying out the cleaning work. PTI AYA BNM BNM BNM

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