In order to protect the environment of popular hill stations Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani, the Bombay High Court has set May 2007 as deadline for both the municipal councils to set up sewerage disposal plants and solid waste management plants to treat the waste before releasing it in the valley and the Veena Lake.
Also a division bench of Justice HL Gokhale and Justice JP Devdhar have directed the state to complete the mapping of forests in the region by the end of this month and complete the marking of forest land, including private forests, by this December.
The court was hearing bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) that steps are not being taken for protection of heritage structures and forest. Also, waste is disposed in the valley without treatment by the Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani regions which generates 2,660 cubic meters and 1,300 cubic meters of garbage respectively on a daily basis.
If both the municipal councils fail to set up the sewerage disposal plants and solid waste management plants by May 2007, then the state government has to supersede the councils and setup the plants by August 2007 after taking necessary actions against the councils.
Private hoteliers and commercial institutions have been directed to setup their individual treatment plants by this December which would be inspected by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in January 2007. If the MPCB finds that the effluents do not meet the necessary standards then board shall direct closure of their activities.