Bombay High Court stays reclamation work over wetlands in Kharghar

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday stayed the ‘reclamation’ work being allegedly carried out by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) on the wetlands in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. The work has been stalled after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) accused CIDCO of illegally dumping debris and garbage and carrying out reclamation work in two areas, which have a pond and wetlands.

A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla has asked the concerned Tahsildar of the area to forthwith conduct an inspection of the site in question and prepare a report, which is to be submitted on the next date of hearing. The judges have also asked the concerned officials to provide protection to the wetlands in Kharghar and ensure that no further damage, as alleged, is caused.

Justice Oka said, “There should be no dumping and reclamation work on the site in question, till further orders. We issue notices to CIDCO and the civic body, let the authorities file their say in the matter. Needless to state, the wetlands in question must be protected by the concerned authorities.”

CIDCO, the development body in Navi Mumbai, along with the civic body has been directed to file their say in response to the PIL filed by NGO – Abhivyakti. The PIL filed through advocate Subhash Jha, accuses the CIDCO of illegally dumping garbage and construction debris on the six hectares land in sector 18 and 19 of Kharghar. The area on which the alleged dumping is done has a pond and wetland, which are to be protected and maintained as per the law.

According to Jha, local residents had sought police intervention in the matter but there was no response. The residents, as per Jha, later on, moved the Wetlands Committee, which directed the CIDCO to stop dumping the debris immediately. “However, the CIDCO has not yet implemented the orders of the Wetlands Committee,” Jha argued. The Committee was formed by another bench of the HC to oversee the protection of wetlands.’’’

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