Mumbai: The BMC has informed the Bombay High Court (HC) that it is taking time to remove the cycling and jogging track at Powai since the work also involves restoration of the site to its original condition.
An affidavit was filed by the BMC in response to a contempt petition for “wilful breach / disobedience” of the May 2022 HC order with regard to removal of the tracks around Powai lake and its catchment areas. The HC, on May 6, 2022, had ruled that the BMC’s ambitious project is “illegal”.
The affidavit filed by Arun Kadam – an executive engineer with the waterworks department – justifies the time by saying that it is not just the removal of the cycle track. “The restoration of the site as it was before will take more time than for a usual removal work,” the affidavit reads, also stating that the work is being monitored continuously.
No intention by the corporation to disobey the order
Stating that there was no intention by the corporation to disobey the order, the engineer tendered an unconditional apology in case the court finds there was non-compliance of its order. Giving details of the timeline after the HC order, the civic body said it had approached the Supreme Court but decided to withdraw, after which it made a representation to the municipal commissioner to sanction funds for the work.
The funds were sanctioned on November 3, 2022, after which the BMC directed its two contractors to commence work and to ensure proper restoration. One of the contractors has already started the work, but the other failed to take up the work. As a result, the BMC had to obtain fresh administrative sanctions to appoint another contractor who was roped in on March 15. “The removal of the cycling track and its restoration work will be completed by June 30,” states the affidavit.
In May 2022, the HC had passed the direction while hearing two different PILs – one by two PhD researchers from IIT-Bombay (Omkar Supekar and Abhishek Tripathi), and the second by NGO Vanashakti. Seeking a stay on the construction, the pleas had sought directions to restore the site to its original form immediately.
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