The Bombay High Court has refused to grant three months time to the Union Government to decide on the fund allocation for the Kumbh Mela slated to be held in Nashik in 2015.
“Why is so much time needed to decide the fund allocation?” asked a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka two days ago while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
What happens if you decide not to give funds after pondering over three months? asked the bench.
The bench also directed the Maharashtra Government and the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) to disclose their estimates for the proposed expenditure on Kumbh Mela, while adjourning the PIL to next week.
In another development, the court asked NMC to justify felling of 2,400 trees for road widening ahead of the Kumbh Mela. The civic body had filed an application seeking permission to fell the trees.
“Why are you cutting 100 year old trees for a religious function?” the judges questioned.
V A Gangal, counsel for NMC, argued that they had to widen the roads to provide better facilities to the devotees who will throng the city during the upcoming mega Hindu religious fair.
However, the judges were not convinced and said that NMC should provide better justification for felling of trees.
The judges noted that it would adversely impact the environment. “Environmental protection is everyone’s duty. You (NMC) will also have to satisfy us that the harm caused will be repaired,” justice Oka said.
The court asked the civic body to file an additional affidavit by December 17 justifying the tree-cutting and also assuring the court that the environmental damage caused will be repaired.
Kumbh Mela, which takes place once in 12 years, will be held at Nashik from August 2015. Last time, in 2003, over 60 lakh people had participated in the fair. This year, over one crore are expected.