Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra government to either take measures to put an end to illegal dumping of garbage in the waste disposal grounds in Mumbai or stop new constructions.
A bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka suggested that the state government can either provide alternative lands for dumping or allow the civic body to increase the capacity of the existing dumping grounds.
"Either you (Government) take steps to stop illegal dumping of garbage or put a stop on the new constructions," the bench told the state.
"Mumbai is the financial capital of the country and the garbage is increasing day by day....We have to find out ways to manage this," the judges observed.
The bench asked the Chief Secretary of the state to file an affidavit by October 23 mentioning government's stand on the issue - whether it would take measures to stop illegal dumping of garbage or whether it would ban new constructions in and around the city.
Last year, the high court had passed an order asking all municipal bodies in the state to dump garbage according to the solid waste management rules. The court had also warned that if garbage dumping continued illegally in contravention of rules, such grounds will have to close down in 3 months.
However, the HC had extended time till November 2015 for the Mumbai civic body to stop illegal dumping of garbage. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) filed an application seeking more time.
Hearing the application today, the bench said that dumping garbage in the disposal grounds was a serious matter and expressed its reservation for extending time to the civic body on the ground that it would pose a health hazard to people.
The HC further asked the state government and BMC to draw out a time-frame to follow solid waste management rules while dumping garbage in the city's grounds.
Referring to BMC's affidavit, the judges said, this does not appear possible in the next two to three years.
The bench, therefore, asked the state government to take a call on the issue and consider issuing directions to BMC to ban new constructions till proper arrangements are made about garbage processing plants.
The judges said that the situation was very alarming as the rules of waste management were not being followed at the dumping grounds and the state should consider providing alternative land for dumping.
The three dumping grounds in the city -- Kanjurmarg, Mulund and Deonar -- receive 10,000 metric tonnes of solid waste a day. Mulund and Deonar sites would soon be closed because lease of respective lands expires in November, so the capacity of Kanjurmarg site must be increased, BMC said.
The division bench, headed by Justice Abhay Oka, was hearing a bunch of PILs alleging that solid waste management rules were not followed at the dumping grounds, leading to pollution.
Some PILs filed by local residents want dumping grounds to be shifted because of the foul smell they produce.
The BMC said earlier that its proposal to augment capacity of Kanjurmarg ground to 6,500 metric tonnes by installing modern plants and equipment was pending with the state government.
The court had then asked the state government to take a decision on this proposal.
BMC said it proposed to hand over the Kanjurmarg site to a private contractor on 'build, operate and transfer' basis. To give the land at concessional rate to the contractor, it needs state government's permission.