Mumbai: Taking serious view of the high contamination in the Panchganga river, flowing along the borders of Kolhapur, the Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the civic body there to initiate action against errant bodies and prevent its further pollution.
A division bench of Justices S J Vazifdar and R G Ketkar was hearing a PIL filed by social worker Dattatray Mane and four others from Ichalkaranji district seeking stringent criminal action against the officials and office bearers of Ichalkaranji Municipal Council (IMC) and Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) for discharging untreated sewage into THE Panchganga river.
According to the petition, the pollution purportedly resulted in massive jaundice outbreak in May last year in Ichalkaranji and surrounding towns, infecting 5,354 persons with the Hepatitis virus and leading to 24 deaths.
"The situation is extremely serious on account of the pollution in the Panchganga river. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and KMC shall take necessary steps and action to ensure implementation of earlier orders that have been passed against erring bodies and persons," the bench recently said.
The court has directed MPCB and KMC to file an action taken report by June 14.
"The MPCB and KMC shall also issue orders or directions that may be necessary in accordance with law against any concerned party to prevent further pollution," the court said.
The PIL stated that the KMC discharges about 100 million litres of sewage, most of the untreated, per day into the Panchganga. It added that the KMC`s sewage treatment plant is almost redundant and that the untreated sewage water deteriorates the water quality of the river.
The PIL alleges that similarly untreated discharge from hundreds of cloth bleaching units in Ichalkaranji and 8 major industries, including some sugar factories and sewage from 174 villages finds its way into the same river.
The petitioners allege that despite finding these anomalies, no action is initiated by MPCB against officials and office bearers of the two civic bodies.