MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Tuesday slammed the Maharashtra government for its failure to set up and make operational the civil defence force centres in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts. The bench has ordered the principal secretary, state home department to file an affidavit spelling out by when would these centres, which are helpful to tackle and manage disasters, would be set up in the two districts.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by one Sharad Raul, a former government official, highlighting the failure on part of the state to set up the centres.
Raul, through his counsel Rakesh Bhatkar pointed out that in 2011, a total of six districts across the state were declared to be "disaster prone" ones. These districts were - Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri.
Bhatkar pointed out that the civil defence centres were already set up in the four districts except Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri.
Noting the series of natural calamities that occurred in these districts in the recent past, the bench questioned additional government pleader B V Samant as to by when would these two districts get the centres.
"Mr Samant, several citizens have died in these districts. We think better and more timely rescue services could have been provided to citizens there, had the centres been functional," the judges pointed out.
"We are desirous of being informed by the state government to steps taken to constitute civil defence centres for the two districts as well as the entire organisational set up of the director general of civil defence," the judges said, adding, "Let an appropriate affidavit be filed by the Principal Secretary, Home within two weeks from today. It should also throw light as to why despite commission of the centrally sponsored scheme wasn't implemented in these two districts."
The matter would be next heard in two weeks.
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