Taking into account the scarcity of water in the state of Maharashtra, the Bombay high court on Monday directed the government not to release water from Gangapur dam in Nashik and nearby reservoirs du
Taking into account the scarcity of water in the state of Maharashtra, the Bombay high court on Monday directed the government not to release water from Gangapur dam in Nashik and nearby reservoirs during Mahavir Jain festival in Nashik for six days commencing February 11.
Apart from preventing the government from releasing water from dams, the division bench of Justice A.S. Oka and Justice Revati Mohite-Dere also directed it to declare its water policy on next date of hearing. The court also directed the principal secretary of the state’s irrigation department to file an affidavit setting out outer time period when the rules of Maharashtra Irrigation Act would be framed.
The bench issued these directions while hearing petition filed by a Pune-based professor H.M. Desarda. The petitioner told the court that the government had released water during Kumbh Mela last year and he is apprehending that again water could be released from the dams during forthcoming religious festival despite scarcity of water in the state.
The bench said that though Maharashtra Irrigation Act had been passed, the rules have not been framed so far and it would be difficult to implement the Act in absence of rules. Considering the importance of the issue, the bench has posted hearing on this petition high on board on February 29.
The Mahavir festival, held at a twin-pinnacled peak in Nashik district, is expected to be held from February 11 to 16. Mangi-Tungi is a prominent twin-pinnacled peak located near Tahrabad about 125 km from Nashik. Mangi at 4,343 ft height above sea level is the western pinnacle while Tungi, standing 4,366 ft high, is on the eastern side.
In September last year, the high court had directed the state not to release water from Gangapur dam for the ‘shahi snan’ during the Kumbh Mela even though many parts of the state are facing drought. The court had told the government to take prior permission from the court if it wanted to use the dam water for Kumbh Mela.