Panel to look into allegations against PMC

A Bombay HC Division Bench of Justices D D Sinha and K K Tated has directed that a four-member committee be set up to look into allegations that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has violated HC guidelines to undertake stormwater drainage work in sync with six recommendations of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

The order came after city-based environment organisation Jalbiradari filed a contempt of court petition against PMC officers for not following MoEF guidelines.

The committee will comprise Maj Gen (retd) Sudhir Jatar, president of Nagrik Chetana Manch, Parineeta Dandekar, member, South Asia Network of Rivers and Dams and M J Shinde, chief engineer (retd), state irrigation department and S L Bhingare, director general (retd), water and land management institute.

The court had directed the members to prepare a report and submit it to the court within four weeks.

The MoEF recommendations are that the width of natural water bodies as shown in the Development Plan must be maintained, there should be no intervention in water bodies wide enough to serve their natural functions and non-concretisation techniques may be used for interventions, no debris dumping may be allowed in the vicinity of water bodies, sewage or drainage lines may not be laid in water bodies or their flood plains or wetlands and nine-metre wide corridor on either side of water bodies in urban areas should be afforested to create green belt.

In May, the HC had permitted the PMC to undertake construction work for stormwater drainage system in the city in keeping with the MoEF recommendations. It had, however, restrained the PMC from carrying out concretisation work.

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