Appreciating the efforts of Kolhapur’s Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials in bringing down pollution levels in Panchganga River, the court said that they should come to Mumbai and he
Appreciating the efforts of Kolhapur’s Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials in bringing down pollution levels in Panchganga River, the court said that they should come to Mumbai and help bring down pollution levels. According to a PIL, polluted water has resulted in the break out of hepatitis, as an epidemic, in the region. A division bench of Justice S.J. Vazifdar and Justice K.R. Sriram was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), which states that untreated sewage water is being released from Ichalkarnji city in Kolhapur into the Panchganga. The PIL filed by 68-year-old social worker Dattatraya Mane and a few others also states that the pollution has resulted into mass spread of hepatitis and declining amounts of potable water. The court was, however, informed by the petitioners’ counsel Dhairyasheel Sutar that the MPCB has taken requisite steps to bring down pollution levels. “The MPCB, especially, sub-regional officer Pramod Mane has done a commendable job in getting around 45,000 out of the 55,000 Ganesh idols, donated to the municipal corporation so that it can be immersed elsewhere this year,” Mr Sutar told the court. To this, Justice Vazifdar said, “Tell them to come to Mumbai.” The PIL states that the district civil surgeon has officially declared hepatitis as an epidemic from May 14, 2012. According to the petitioners, a total of 5,354 people have been found infected from hepatitis in Ichalkarnji and the surroundings areas. It adds that the deputy director of health, Kolhapur, has declared 24 deaths due to hepatitis by a letter dated August 10, 2012. The PIL, therefore, sought immediate stop to the release of polluted water to the river and action against erring officials of municipal corporation for flouting provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act. The PIL also prayed that patients suffering from hepatitis be compensated with `25,000 each. While lauding the efforts of the MPCB, the court directed the municipal corporation to appoint a responsible official, and file an affidavit along with all the records, on the directions given by the MPCB on the situation on the next date of hearing on October 14.