The Bombay high court (HC) sought a report on pollution around Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai, following a petition filed by Major Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the September 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts case.
In a hand-written petition filed in February 2011, Upadhyay complained that he had been experiencing increased respiratory problems, itching of eyes, skin irritation and other such problems ever since he was shifted to Taloja Central Prison, in July 2010.
Acting on the petition, a division bench of justice BH Marlapalle and justice UD Salvi directed the Belapur sub-divisional officer of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the collector, Raigad to conduct an inquiry and submit a report on the air, water and noise pollution in areas surrounding the newly established prison.
The bench has also asked assistant public prosecutor Madhavi Mhatre to submit within four weeks a report indicating the prevailing pollution levels in and around the prison.
In his petition, Upadhyay had also said he found that many other inmates, jail staff and people living in areas surrounding the jail were suffering from similar problems, due to the increased pollution, which he attributed to brick kilns, quarries, stone crushers and chemical industries.
He further alleged that his eyesight had also been affected and that his lens number had increased by four times during his stay in Taloja prison. He sought to be transferred to Yerawada Central Prison in Pune, claiming that his fundamental right to life was being affected, since he could not even breathe fresh air at Taloja prison.
The petition will come up for further hearing in five weeks.