Mumbai: HC intervention clears way for laying pipeline to reduce flooding at Hindmata
Following an assurance from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that the problems faced by Tata Mills (NTCL) at Parel would be taken care of by the authorities if the laying of a 325-meter-long stormwater pipeline through their property was allowed, the Bombay high court (HC) permitted the BMC to start work after an agreement between Tata Mills and the civic body was completed.
Tata Mills had approached the HC after members of the ruling Shiv Sena government had barged onto the property in April 2021 along with the contractor to start the pipeline work forcefully.
The vacation bench of justice RD Dhanuka and justice Madhav Jamdar, while hearing two petitions filed by Tata Mills and BMC, respectively, was informed that both petitions dealt with the laying of a stormwater pipeline, 1,200mm in diameter, to drain the rainwater which flooded both the Hindmata junction and the mill compound during the monsoons.
Senior advocate RS Apte for the general manager Tata Mills informed the bench that the head office had received a letter from BMC through the F-South ward office in March seeking permission to lay the SWD through the mill premise. The petition submitted that while the correspondence was going on between the two, on April 28 the local corporator along with a member of parliament from Shiv Sena barged into the premise along with the contractor and equipment to commence the pipe laying work.
Apte submitted that earlier on April 19 the Disaster Management Authority had issued the mill a notice under the Act and even Mumbai’s mayor Kishori Pednekar had visited the mill premise on April 30 and had given an oral order to commence the work. Aggrieved by the notice and high-handedness of the politicians who were not willing to wait for the correspondence to come to its logical conclusion Tata Mills had approached the HC seeking a restraint on the authorities from taking action against the mill or entering their premise forcefully.
The BMC has undertaken the building of silos and underground water tanks at the Hindmata junction as every year there is waterlogging due to the monsoons and brings traffic to a halt due to the three feet of water that gets collected there. The SWD pipeline proposed by the BMC is meant to drain away from the water that is collected in these underground water tanks.
Additional solicitor-general Anil Singh for the Union of India informed the bench that the Centre had cleared the proposal of BMC and had no problem with the pipeline being laid through the mill land.
In an earlier hearing, the HC had directed the BMC to file an affidavit and work on a solution to resolve the problem amicably.
On May 28, senior advocate NV Walawalkar for BMC submitted an affidavit stating that on May 26 the NTC head office had conveyed its agreement to the pipe laying on certain terms and conditions and the agreement between the mill and BMC was being finalised, wherein the civic authority would compensate the mill for the losses it would suffer while work on the pipe laying was on.
After hearing the submissions, the HC permitted commencement of the work after the agreement was in place and said, “We expect that after taking possession of the plot, the municipal corporation will start the work immediately under the agreement being entered into between the parties,” and disposed of both petitions.