The decision of the collector and other officials from Nashik, who allowed the release of water from the Gangapur dam to Godavari river for the shahi snan during the Kumbh mela, at a time when parts of the state are facing water scarcity, will be probed.
The division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice VL Achliya of the Bombay high court (HC) directed the state chief secretary to conduct an inquiry into the decision and submit a report by December 21. The chief secretary has been directed to hear all parties concerned and give his conclusion in the report.
“The collector [Nashik] has committed a blunder,” said the court, commenting on the collector’s decision to release stock water for shahi snan, a week after the state had issued a government resolution (GR) instructing all district collectors to conserve water and give priority to drinking purposes.
The court was also irked to note a large quantity of water was required to be released in Godavari after the snan, to clear the dirt left after the religious gathering. “If so much dirt is created by the Kumbh Mela, the state should reconsider the entire thing,” the judges said.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Hiralal Desarda, a visiting professor at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Law, questioning the release of water for the snan.
Acting on the PIL, the court had, on September 25, restrained the state from releasing water from the dam without prior permission from the court. The court on Wednesday continued the restraining order till a decision on the PIL.
The court had earlier observed prima facie the orders of the collector appeared to be contrary to the GR issued on September 7.