12 Sep 2023 4:24 PM GMT
In a relief for several environmentalists, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday recorded a statement by the CEO of Aarey colony that no permission was being accorded to the BMC for idol immersion in the lakes of Aarey.A division bench of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyay and Justice Arif Doctor observed, “We also direct that for safer immersion of the idols adequate arrangements shall be...
In a relief for several environmentalists, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday recorded a statement by the CEO of Aarey colony that no permission was being accorded to the BMC for idol immersion in the lakes of Aarey.
A division bench of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyay and Justice Arif Doctor observed,
“We also direct that for safer immersion of the idols adequate arrangements shall be made by the different Urban Local Bodies throughout the City of Mumbai and in the suburbs lying in its vicinity in terms of the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board in its Notification dated 12th May 2020.”
The court further widened the scope of the PIL filed by NGO Vanashakti and sought responses from various State authorities on implementation of the Central Pollution Control Board’s guidelines for safe Ganesh idol immersions.
Responses were sought from the State Government, BMC, the Maharashtra State Pollution Control Board, Aarey CEO and the Member Secretary of the Monitoring Committee. They were asked to give details of steps taken by them to implement the guidelines issued by the CPCB dated 12th May 2020 and also for compliance of a 2016 notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
Vanashakti had approached the Bombay High Court against two letters written by the BMC dated July 19 and August 18, 2023 to the Aarey CEO seeking idol immersions in lakes within the ESZ of SGNP (including Aarey Colony). The petitioner led by Advocate Tushad Kakalia raised issues of pollution owing to immersion of idols made from Plaster of Paris (PoP), and also sought proper implementation of CPCB’s guidelines on the issue.
Following this the High Court sought the civic body’s response ahead of the Ganpati festival.
A Deputy Municipal Commissioner filed an affidavit and asserted that an NOC was sought from the Aarey CEO and that they wouldn’t proceed without his permission. They submitted the guidelines on idol immersion were being implemented in a phased manner in 3 years i.e. 2022, 2023 and 2024.
The BMC claimed that circulars were issued and brochures were distributed informing general public about the guidelines. The BMC affidavit said that it had procured eco-friendly white clay to supply to idol makers. “BMC has made a provision for 2400 tons of clay and has actually supplied above 450 metric tons to various idol makers”, the BMC affidavit said. It added that appeals have been made to Public committees to use eco-friendly material for idol making, and also to immerse idols upto the height of 4 feet in artificial lakes.
The State counsel representing Aarey CEO submitted that no permission shall be granted in view of the provisions of CPCB’s Notification dated May 12, 2020.
The court also took note of the petitioner’s argument that the CPCB guidelines weren’t being followed. “Various provisions have been made in the said guidelines requiring the Urban Local Bodies to make efforts not only to identify and arrange adequate number of designated temporary or artificial ponds or tanks but also to ensure that such artificial ponds or tanks are arranged at suitable places…” the court noted.
The petition is kept for further hearing on November 1, 2023.
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