The Principal Bench of NGT constituted a bench in Delhi, which held hearings through video-conferencing, but only a limited number of pleas could be addressed through this process. (File)
Taking note of environmental concerns raised by local residents, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to respond to allegations that the civic body has encroached upon a 130-metre stretch, part of a natural stream that originates from Bhambhurda hills and ends at Mutha river. The encroachment and the blocked part of the stream has led to flood situations during monsoon, according to a plea filed before the NGT.
The entire stretch of the stream has been clearly marked as a water body in the existing land use survey map in Pune city's development plan.
In an order on Thursday, the western zone bench of the NGT, comprising S P Wangdi and Siddanta Das, also directed constitution of a committee comprising the Pune collector, the assistant commissioner of Encroachment Department in PMC and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to jointly inspect the area, verify the factual situation and submit a report before the next hearing.
"A road has been constructed by dumping debris on a natural stream. The raised road is causing flooding in the area during monsoon every year. The NGT has issued notice to PMC to file its report about the road constructed on the nullah in Model Colony," said Saurabh Kulkarni, lawyer of the petitioner Devraj Bhatia.
In his plea, the applicant had alleged that the stream was filled up and a road constructed over it at an elevated height of 2 metres. This has been a major cause of concern for local residents, as the encroachment obstructs the flow of water during monsoon, causing a flood-like situation in the area, stated the plea.
The applicant had urged the NGT bench to direct the PMC to remove the encroachments and also the concrete from the stream. Due to frequent cloud bursts in the city, such encroachment had led to water logging and flooding, he said. Repeated requests to PMC have fallen on deaf ears as there has been no response on the issue so far, said Bhatia.