HC comes to the rescue of island of 100 families in Maharashtra
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Julie Kharbhumi Labharthi Shetkari Sahkari Sanstha complaining about illegal sand mining in Vaitarna river that had threatened the only source of livelihood of the farmers from Jhow island.mumbai Updated: Apr 15, 2018 00:07 IST
The Bombay high court has come to the rescue of an island, adobe to around 100 families, which are on the verge of losing their only source of livelihood due to illegal sand mining in the adjoining Vaitarna river.
A division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Riyaz Chagla on Thursday directed the Railways to put in six iron girders under two railway bridges to prevent entry of boats carrying illegally mined sand in the area.
The court has also ordered the Railway administration to install CCTV cameras, powered by solar panels, under the bridges to enable authorities to take action against illegal sand miners.
To ensure that the ecological damage is reversed, the bench has directed the Maharashtra government to frame a policy in one month to ensure that illegally excavated sand, if caught by authorities is dumped back at the same place in the river or creek from where, it is excavated.
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Julie Kharbhumi Labharthi Shetkari Sahkari Sanstha complaining about illegal sand mining in Vaitarna river that had threatened the only source of livelihood of the farmers from Jhow island.
It alleged that apart from causing large scale ecological damage, rampant use of suction pumps to illegally excavate sand along shores of the island has weakened a bund constructed for protecting paddy fields of local farmers, which will be inundated by salt water, resulting in the loss of the only source of their livelihood.
Their plea also alleged that the rampant use of suction pumps to illegally excavate sand has led to disappearance of sand banks, small islands in the area and also threatens safety of Shirgaon and Kasrali railway bridges.
They had suggested that if iron girders are placed under these bridges, it will prevent boats used for illegally excavating sand and transporting such sand to the shore from entering the area and also help protect the railway bridges.
On the request of the petitioner’s counsel, senior advocate Gayatri Singh, the bench has also directed revenue authorities to immediately destroy the points used to offload illegally excavated sand. Besides, it has also directed the Maharashtra Maritime Board to keep vigil in the area by using patrolling boats.
First Published: Apr 15, 2018 00:06 IST