Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today formed a high-powered committee to provide proper sanitation and monitor pollution in Chandrabhaga river in the holy town of Pandharpur for the Asadi Ekadashi festival on July 9 amidst reports of manual scavenging prevailing there.
A bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka has asked the panel, headed by Solapur Collector, to submit a report by September 15.
Other members of the Committee are Chief Executive of Public Works Department, CEO of Pandharpur Municipality and Sub-Divisional Officer of Pandharpur.
The Court also directed the Superintendent of Police of Pandharpur to assist the panel in its task of providing proper sanitation and monitoring river pollution.
The state had informed the court earlier that about 4,500 permanent and temporary toilets would be built for pilgrims visiting Pandharpur for the forthcoming festival.
The Court today directed that the Committee must ensure that adequate water supply was provided for flushing in the toilets so that the problem of sanitation did not arise.
The bench also directed Pandharpur Municipal body to use treated water in its supply and ensure that wet garbage does not flow into Chandrabhaga river, thereby polluting it.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by Campaign Against Manual Scavenging which alleged that the inhuman practice of collecting human excreta continued even today as the number of toilets was very less in Pandharpur which is visited by lakhs of pilgrims during the festival.
The court had earlier expressed anguish over the state government`s apathy towards manual scavengers in Pandharpur and said it was shocking to know that such practice continued unabated till date.
The court, announcing the formation of the Committee, said it was necessary to clean the rivers flowing near Pandharpur as well as clean the entire city before the festival begins.