Mumbai: In some respite for the BMC, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed it to make water and electricity arrangements in 11 buildings of Mahul village, which the city civic body plans to use in the future as a quarantine facility. The HC, however, ordered the civic body not to use the buildings for quarantine suspected COVID-19 patients, without its permission.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Sambhaji Shinde was dealing with a plea filed by the mother of an under-trial lodged in Arthur Road jail. The woman along with an NGO, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, took exception to the decision of the BMC to shift COVID-19 patients from Arthur Road jail to Mahul, which has already been dubbed as the toxic hell of the city.
The petitions highlighted the orders of the HC, passed last year and also those by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that declared Mahul as being unsafe for human habitation.
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Opposing the plea, the BMC filed an application before the bench seeking to make water and electricity arrangements at 11 buildings in Mahul.
Senior counsel Anil Sakhre, appearing for the BMC, told the bench that the civic body does not propose to use these buildings immediately.
"The COVID-19 cases are rising in M (west) ward and the civic body needs more quarantine centers. However, we do not propose to use these buildings immediately, but as and when required. May be when the cases rise further," the counsel told the bench.
The request put forth by the BMC was vehemently opposed by the petitioners, who pointed out that the air pollution in the region has caused respiratory problems to hundreds of PAPs residing here. They also argued that these buildings had poor ventilation.
The judges were further apprised of the gas leak issue at the site, which continued for a week, starting from June 1.
Having heard the contention, the judges said, "While the BMC can proceed with making the required arrangements but it cannot use the buildings. You cannot use this site without this court's permission."
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