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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

HC to decide pond case in December; hope floats for Kharghar residents

The high court has given a stay order on any activity in and around the pond till it decides the case.

mumbai Updated: Sep 14, 2019 02:37 IST
Padmja Sinha
Padmja Sinha
Navi Mumbai 
Residents have been fighting to save the pond at Sector 19 in Kharghar in Navi Mumbai.
Residents have been fighting to save the pond at Sector 19 in Kharghar in Navi Mumbai.(HT image)
         

It has been more than a year since residents of Sector 19 in Kharghar have been fighting a legal battle to save the pond in the area.

On September 11, the Bombay high court heard the case and will decide the matter in December, after the assembly elections. Residents have been asked to give proof and evidences to show that the pond is a natural water body.

The high court has given a stay order on any activity in and around the pond till it decides the case.

City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) has been asked to keep watch on the pond to stop any illegal activity.

Naresh Chandra from NGO Abhivyakti, who filed the public interest litigation, said, “We are determined to save the pond. This is a natural water body. Until 2016, it measured at least 6 hectares before dumping started. After 2018, it shrunk by one hectare.”

“For the past two years, there has been severe waterlogging at Sector 19 because of reclamation of the pond by Cidco. We have submitted evidence to the court along with photographs. Rampant quarrying at Kharghar hills and destruction of mangrove and water bodies have led to severe flooding in Kharghar. The pond acts as a sponge during monsoon and will prevent flooding if it is preserved,” said Chandra.

The pond is in Murbi village at Kharghar, which is now transformed into a township.

Chandra B Pandey, 53, a resident of Sector 19, played a crucial role in filing a PIL to save the pond. “The pond has been there since ages. Despite being such a big water body, it has not been marked as a wetland by the government,” said Pandey.

Cidco, however, maintains that the pond has been created because of depression during construction work of several buildings.

Pramod Patil, nodal officer environment of Cidco, said, “We will wait for the court’s decision. As per the court order, we are keeping an eye on any dumping in pond and its premises.”

First Published: Sep 14, 2019 00:56 IST