Cattle sheds to pay ₹2L fine for polluting riverUpdated: Feb 14, 2020 00:06 IST
In a bid to tackle water pollution in Dahisar river, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) R Central ward has fined 12 cattle sheds ₹2 lakh and seized 25 animals during eight different investigations this month, said civic officials.
“The animals have been kept at a BMC-run shed in Malad and will not be returned to the owners until they pay the fine or produce a certificate from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) stating they are treating sewage generated on-site,” said Bhagyashree Kapse, assistant municipal commissioner, R Central. “We were forced to take strict action as the sheds had not initiated any sewage treatment for eight years.”
BMC has also destroyed 101 unauthorised structures on the river bank at Sanjay Nagar and Hanuman Nagar to construct a 225-m retaining wall with the help of BMC’s storm water drains department.
There are 20 sheds at a 1.5-acre site opposite the main gate of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). All water connections to these sheds as well as six unauthorised wells have been dismantled. In addition, existing sewage disposal points have been temporarily blocked until the shed owners install a sewage treatment plant (STP), said Kapse.
“We have been told that the shed owners have managed to collect ₹8 lakh to install STP. However, without the MPCB clearance, the shed owners will continue to face similar fines,” added Kapse.
The shed owners said that the BMC had illegally seized animals. “Our group has assured that no waste will be released into the river, and each of us has paid for the STP installation. Without our animals, we are unable to earn or eat daily meals,” said Sakshamlal G, a tabela owner.
Environmental group RiverMarch had staged a protest during the last week of January demanding that the civic body initiate action against these sheds. Over the past four years, a number of Borivli residents have reported that cattle carcasses were dumped in the river. Trash, animal carcasses and human waste emerging from slums are choking the Dahisar and Poisar rivers, revealed an inspection conducted by RiverMarch last year.
“BMC removed 150 trucks worth of sewage and waste from this end of Dahisar river. This is the first step towards actually implementing recommendations under the Chitale committee report from almost 15 years ago,” said Gopal Jhaveri, RiverMarch.
As no action was taken against these sheds despite repeated submissions to the civic body, RiverMarch members staged a protest (gobar morcha) during the last week of January highlighting the lack of action against such complaints over the past eight years.