Aashti sugar factory: HC asks govt to reply

The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the state government to file a reply to a petition by the Gram Panchayat of a village in Solapur district opposing a sugar factory from coming up citing environmental concerns.

The president of the sugar factory is Bhagyashri, wife of Minister for Cooperation and Marketing Harshavardhan Patil.

The Aashti Gram Panchayat has opposed the factory stating it would hurt the environment of the village. The petition states the Audumberraoji Patil Sakhar Karkhana on the south west of Aashti Talao, a reservoir built during the British era that supplies water to Aashti and 50 neighbouring villages, is being constructed in violation of rules.

The gram panchayat had opposed the factory saying it would be hazardous to public health due to pollution by effluents released into the reservoir. The gram panchayat said it had refused permission for the factory and its planned 10-MW power generation plant.

However, the factory had applied for permission with several other authorities and the panchayat apprehends they may get permission from some of them.

The panchayat said that the factory is being set up on agricultural land in violation of rules, without necessary permission from the authorities and without changing user status. It would lead to water, noise and air pollution, the petition states.

The factory would also threaten migratory birds, the panchayat said.

The other respondents include the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, Solapur Zilla Parishad, Mohol Tahsildar, Commissioner of Sugar and Solapur Collector.

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