Make beaches secure before Ganesh festival starts: Bombay High Court tells Maharashtra government

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra government to take all necessary steps to ensure safety on beaches in the city ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

Thousands of people throng the beaches in Mumbai on the last day of the festival, which will commence on September 13, for immersion of Ganesh idols. A division bench of Justices S M Kemkar and S V Kotwal was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Janhit Manch on the issue of beach safety. The PIL was filed in 2016 after 14 college students drowned at the Murud-Janjira beach in the neighbouring Raigad district.

“The state government must coordinate with local authorities and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to safeguard beaches ahead of the Ganesh festival,” the court said. The court also directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to seek permission from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) to erect temporary watch towers at the Girgaum Chowpatty beach in south Mumbai.

“The MCZMA shall take (a) decision on it by September 10. The BMC shall also seek permission to erect permanent watch towers which the MCZMA shall decide expeditiously,” the court said. The BMC lawyer informed the court that the civic body had recently appointed over 90 lifeguards who will be deployed on the beaches. Besides, there would be patrolling jeeps, he said.

“The jeeps should not be stationary. They should be moving up and down the beach. Haven’t you watched Baywatch?” Justice Kemkar asked, referring to the popular American TV series. “Use modern means,” he added. The court posted the petition for further hearing on October 16.

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