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Don’t allow destruction of lakes: HC

Concerned about the destruction of natural resources, the Bombay high court has restrained the municipal corporation and state housing body from granting development permission in and around lakes and ponds.

mumbai Updated: Feb 02, 2011 01:54 IST
HT Correspondent

Concerned about the destruction of natural resources, the Bombay high court has restrained the municipal corporation and state housing body from granting development permission in and around lakes and ponds.

“No one should be allowed to fill up or destroy natural lakes or ponds because it will have serious environmental effects,” the high court observed on Tuesday.

The division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Amjad Sayed asked the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) to consider restoring a natural lake at Borivli (west), which was filled to develop a garden.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by social activist Edwin Britto seeking restoration of two lakes.

Mhada had developed the garden by filling up a lake, which was spread over 3,381 sqm, and beautified the area surrounding the other lake — Eksar. The garden was developed from the MLA funds sanctioned by Gopal Shetty.

The court directed the corporation and Mhada to strictly monitor and ensure no such development is allowed.

“As it is, the city is facing water shortage. If natural resources are allowed to be destroyed, the situation will be more grave in the days to come,” observed the bench. Meanwhile, the municipal corporation refused to maintain the garden saying it was developed illegally by Mhada by using MLA funds.

“One of the lakes was filled, which is illegal. If Mhada restores the lake, then we will consider maintaining it,” argued the advocate for the civic body.

The PIL had also alleged that the MLA, who maintains the garden, charges an entry fee. But Shetty’s counsel, Anil Sakhare, denied the charge. “We continue to maintain the garden as neither Mhada nor the municipal corporation wants to take care of it. Eksar Lake is intact,” said Sakhare.