Irked with the Maharashtra government’s “casual” approach towards checking if suburban Mahul was fit to reside for persons displaced by demolitions in the vicinity of Tansa pipeline, the Bombay High Court said it would appoint an expert agency to look into the issue.
The BMC, in compliance with a previous order of the high court, has been demolishing encroachments, including unauthorised residential and commercial structures, along the Tansa water pipeline that runs across nine administrative wards of the city.
The state government had decided to accommodate the displaced persons in suburban Mahul village.
However, those displaced have refused to move there citing high pollution levels due to nearby refineries.
The people relied on an observation made to this effect by Mumbai bench of the National Green Tribunal in a related matter.
The high court had in April this year directed the government to set up a committee comprising senior bureaucrats to conduct site inspection and check if all the basic amenities were available in the area.
The government submitted the committee’s report but a division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla said the report was “as vague as possible”.
“The committee seems to have done absolutely nothing. It seems like the state government is taking this in a very casual manner without understanding the consequences. If the displaced persons are not given accommodation then the demolition work will get stalled which in turn puts the pipeline, which supplies water to the entire city, at risk,” Justice Oka said.
“This cannot go on like this. If this is the attitude of the state government then it is best we appoint an expert agency like the IIT or the TISS to look into the issue and submit a comprehensive report,” he said.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on June 15.
“On the next hearing, the state government shall tell us names of any expert agency. We will appoint that agency at the cost of the state government,” the court said.