Bombay High Court pulls up Maharashtra government for lack of basic facilities at JNPT

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court came down heavily on the Maharashtra government for failing to provide basic facilities like hospitals and good roads at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Raigad district. A division bench of Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice G S Kulkarni was last week hearing a public interest litigation filed by the Uran Samajik Sanstha raising concerns about heavy vehicular traffic, lack of medical facilities as well as police patrolling at JNPT.

At present, according to the petition, there is only one rural hospital eight kilometres from JNPT, but it is not equipped to handle serious medical emergencies. The JNPT had earlier informed the court that it had recently entered into an agreement with Apollo Hospital and that, within a period of nine months, a full fledged trauma centre will start in the JNPT premises. The court then suggested that in the meantime the government could upgrade the existing rural hospital and ensure ambulance and doctors are available round the clock.

“You (government) cannot ignore important and basic facilities like medical care…especially in such places like JNPT. The government has to pay attention to all this too. Every plot of land you (govt) cannot keep giving for commercial and residential use,” the court said. The court noted that when the JNPT is a port of national and international importance, an ideal road with sufficient number of lanes to cater to the special traffic ought to have been the first priority of the central and state authorities.

It added that even after 30 years of the JNPT’s establishment, basic requirements like medical facilities and good roads were not considered by authorities. “The result is insurmountable inconvenience to the public at large resulting in accidents and loss of life. It is imperative that all the roads leading to the port need to be properly planned, well maintained and all measures need to be taken to make them accident free,” the court said. “The roads should not be death traps,” it said. The bench said authorities have to fix accountability on those who are required to maintain the roads.

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