Saturday, September 23, 2017

NGT proposes study of riverbed stretch


PUNE: The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Pune bench, has proposed an inspection of the 1.7-km stretch of the Mutha riverbed by a three-member expert panel to assess the potential impact of construction of the Pune Metro Rail on the river's eco-system and water.

While the Maharashstra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MahaMetro) has conveyed its opposition to such inspection, the bench will hold a hearing on the proposal on October 10. The Supreme Court had on Monday held that NGT can hear an application by architect Sarang Yadwadkar and others challenging the Metro rail route alignment passing through a 1.7km river bed stretch.

Following this, the matter came up for hearing before the tribunal's bench of Justice U D Salvi and expert member B S Sajwan on Thursday. Lawyer Saurabh Kulkarni, who is representing the project's consulting agency Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, pitched in for both, MahaMetro and Pune Municipal Corporation in the absence of their regular counsels.

"We have conveyed our opposition to the proposal for inspection by an expert panel. The bench has adjourned the matter to October 10 when it will hear the proposal as well as the main application," Kulkarni said.

Lawyer Asim Sarode, representing Yadwadkar and other applicants, submitted that the applicants have no issues with such inspection. "Even the Maharashtra Biodiversity Board has conveyed a positive inclination towards such inspection," Sarode told

"This is all the more crucial as the focus will be on the impact of the project on the river's ecology and problems like water pollution," he said, adding, "We also told the bench that the applicants wanted to submit a couple of reports of the National Disaster Management Authority and a Parliament Standing Committee on metro projects in support of our case."

On August 29, the NGT passed an order dismissing the MahaMetro's argument that the application was not maintainable before the green tribunal. It held that the tribunal had a jurisdiction to entertain the case. The MahaMetro has challenged the tribunal's order in the apex court.


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