The Bombay High Court on Tuesday issued directions for enhancing the safety of beaches.
The directions were issued by a Bench comprising Justice Shantanu Kemkar and Justice Sarang V. Kotwal on a PIL filed by non-profit Janhit Manch, highlighting drownings in the sea and the absence of warning signs and rescuers on the seafronts.
During the hearing on Tuesday, the court was informed by the Counsel for the Municipal Corporation that it has taken steps for appointment of lifeguards for the security of the public at various beaches. It submitted that it was planning to appoint 93 lifeguards trained from National Institute of Water Sports, Goa and that the appointment procedure will be completed within three months.
The court was also informed that while the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority has not granted permission for the erection of permanent watch towers yet, the Corporation is seeking permission for the erection of temporary watchtowers at beaches to safeguard lives during immersion of Ganesh idols in the forthcoming Ganesh Festival.
Accepting the submissions, the court ordered, “Be that as it may, we direct that the Corporation shall erect temporary watchtowers after getting due permission from the MCZMA, on or before 10/09/2018. So far as the permanent watchtowers are concerned, we expect that MCZMA shall consider the request of the Corporation and pass appropriate orders on it in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible.
As regards the future appointment of lifeguards is concerned, we hope and trust that the State, as also the Corporation, shall take into consideration that the lifeguards which will be appointed, will be appointed after taking into consideration that they are well trained from the recognized institute for training the lifeguards. ”
The petitioner NGO then pointed out that while the State government had identified places which are fit for swimming and which aren’t, it hasn’t erected an adequate number of boards demonstrating the places which are unsafe for swimmers.
The court, therefore, directed the requisite number of boards for safety instructions to be placed immediately. Additionally, the court was assured that red flags will immediately be placed at dangerous zones during high tide.
The Corporation further assured the court that it would take steps for deploying mobile jeeps, which would move from one end of the beach to the other, making appropriate announcements for the safety of the public.
Besides, the State was directed to ensure necessary safety measures at all places of immersion of Ganesh idols during the Ganesh Festival season. The court ordered, “We also direct the State Government to take all the necessary safety measures at all places of immersion of Ganesh idols during the Ganesh Festival season. We expect that the State Government shall do this with coordination with the other authorities, including Corporation and more particularly Fire Department of the Corporation. Adequate police force be also deployed to control any untoward incident.”
The matter will now be heard on 17 October.
Read the Order Here