Remove debris from Mithi river in 10 days: HC | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Remove debris from Mithi river in 10 days: HC

The Bombay high court has given the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the state government 10 days to rid the Mithi river of debris and encroachment. Despite this, both the government and the civic agency have conveyed their inability to evict encroachers from around the river.

mumbai Updated: Dec 03, 2011 01:46 IST
HT Correspondent

The Bombay high court has given the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the state government 10 days to rid the Mithi river of debris and encroachment. Despite this, both the government and the civic agency have conveyed their inability to evict encroachers from around the river.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Jagdish Gandhi that seeks restoration of water bodies, and asks for the river to be freed of encroachments.

However, the MMRDA, on Friday, admitted that it does not have the machinery to remove encroachments. Even government pleader Sudip Nargolkar said that removal of encroachments was likely to be difficult, but assured that the state would prevent further intrusion. “But you should remove the hutments,” the court stressed.

In addition, the petitioner has also challenged the construction of a retention wall along the river claiming that the wall built between the river and the mangroves is hurting the ecosystem. The counsel for MMRDA argued that mangroves weren't always present around the Mithi and it was the civic agency that had planted 10 lakh mangrove saplings. “You have to maintain it then,” justice Dalvi told the MMRDA.

Gandhi contended that the MMRDA should construct walls on the northern and southern part of the river to keep encroachers from eating into the river. He argued that the wall stands between the river and the mangroves, when in fact, it should be between the mangroves and encroachers. This is line with the recommendations of an expert committee appointed by the high court last year. The committee recommended removal of the entire RCC wall and pipes to ensure free flow of tidal waters towards the mangroves and suggested that the wall be shifted between the housing colony and mangroves.

The court has now given the authorities 10 days to remove debris, encroachment and also put up barricades to block pathways to the mangrove area.