The Bombay High Court permitted the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to carry out the widening project of Mithi River to ensure smooth flow of water to the sea.
A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade said in public interest the widening project will have to be allowed so that the water flow is smooth and there would not be an increase in air and water-borne diseases due to accumulation of sewage water in the river.
The bench was hearing an application filed by the civic body seeking permission to go ahead with the project, as the State Environment Impact Assessment Society had said the corporation would have to seek court’s nod because of certain directions passed by high court in the past on the issue.
According to the civic body, the water flow in the Mithi River has reduced due to narrow bridges, mainly at suburban Mahim, which is resulting in accumulation of water and in turn increase in diseases.
MCGM’s counsel S U Kamdar argued that the water accumulation is also posing a hazard to the two pipelines (Vaitarna and Tansa) that supply drinking water to the entire city.
The court, while accepting the civic body’s contention, said, “We are of the view that if God forbid something goes wrong and the two main water pipelines are damaged, the entire city of Mumbai would be without drinking water and it would result in a chaotic situation.”
“We, therefore, are of the view that in public interest permission needs to be granted to the civic body,” it said.
The court noted that the corporation proposal is not to widen the Mithi river but to only widen the flow of water below the two pipelines.
The bench further took note of a report submitted by a state government committee, which observed that accumulation of raw sewage water in Mithi River has resulted in water and air borne diseases and that smooth flow of water should be there.