Bombay High Court directs Maharashtra government to spell out plans to tackle droughts

Mumbai: Observing that drought is a serious issue, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to spell out its plans to tackle the issue. The HC said it would be passing orders on next Monday.  A vacation bench of Justices Ajay Gadkari and Nitin Jamdar warned it would be passing ex-parte orders on Monday, if the special counsel, appointed by the government to represent it in the drought matter.

This comes after the bench was informed by a junior government counsel of the unavailablility of the special counsel Anil Sakhre to come to the court and represent the government. “This is a serious issue. We cannot hear such a submission. If your special counsel is not available then ensure someone else appears before us,” the bench remarked.

The bench was dealing with a plea filed by activist and former lawmaker Sanjay Lakhe-Patil seeking setting up of independent disaster management units in all districts of Maharashtra. Confirming the development, Lakhe-Patil said, “The judges have clearly said they would proceed with passing orders on next date of hearing, even in the absence of the special counsel.”

The plea filed by Lakhe-Patil also seeks effective implementation of the disaster management guidelines, 2016. Under these guidelines, the government is tasked to undertake various measures for rehabilitating and securing the villagers of a drought-hit district or area. These measures, include providing employment, promoting rain water harvesting and other water conservation schemes and also providing better crop and farming techniques.

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