The central government is in the process of devising guidelines with regard to the management of riverbeds and floodplains, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF) told the Bombay high court on Friday.
The division bench of justice Anoop V Mohta and justice NM Jamdar was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Vanashakti Trust, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which sought to draw attention to the degradation of riverbeds in the state.
The petition has sought measures for preserving riverbeds, preventing construction adjacent to them and treating domestic sewage being released into rivers.
On Friday, the MoEF told the court that the ministry had constituted a committee in March this year to “to suggest a way forward which would apply to all the rivers in the country”.
The draft guidelines have now been prepared, said the affidavit filed by BB Barman, director in the MoEF.
“The agreed draft guidelines and notifications would thereafter be sent to the state government concerned for their consideration and comments,” read the affidavit. “Based on the comments of the state government, the ministry will decide the further course of action.”
The pleader for the central government said that the process was underway and would take some time as the state governments would also have to be involved.
After receiving the ministry’s response, the petitioner sought two weeks’ time to file their reply.