The Bombay high court on Thursday came down heavily on the civic body for not providing documentary evidence to prove that it had not dumped debris illegally to reclaim wetlands and mangroves at the Kanjurmarg landfill, and also documents to show clearances had been sought to use bioreactor landfill technology as mandated by a relevant authority.
A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and SA Sayyed was hearing a public interest litigation by non-profit organisation Vanashakti and another writ petition filed by Vikhroli MLA Mangesh Sangle, both seeking closure of the landfill claiming that it falls under coastal regulation zone I and poses a health hazard to locals.
On Thursday’s hearing, the petitioners had submitted Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Committee’s (MCZMA) site-inspection report of the landfill, which indicts the civic body for dumping “beyond the 65 hectares of land allotted for the [landfill] project.” MCZMA had also asked the civic body to take CRZ clearances for bioreactor landfill technology as well as for allied construction activities such as security cabins and administrative offices.
When the civic body’s counsel denied the findings of MCZMA’s site visit, the bench warned that if any admission made without documentary evidence was found to be false, the court would take strictest action against the seniormost civic body officials.
When asked by the court why the civic body did not take clearance for windrows composting and used bioreactor landfill technology, the civic body’s counsel claimed they had authorisation from the Maharashtra Pollution control Board (MPCB). But MPCB’s counsel refuted the claim and said they had only granted consent for windrows composting. The bench then asked the civic body to provide a response on the issue of illegal dumping and absence of requisite clearances on Friday.