The Court directs authorities to implement Nag River rejuvenation plan at the earliest
Nagpur: Terming the apathy of society and administration as worrisome, the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court called upon all Nagpurians and the authorities to make wholehearted efforts to rejuvenate Nag River and restore its past glory. Taking a suo-motu PIL based on ‘media reports about plight of Nag River and dirt and filth in Civil Lines area, a division bench consisting of Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Anil Kilor enlarged the scope of the PIL and included cleaning of entire stretch of the river as it affected the environment and health of public at large.
The High Court, while seeking detailed response about efforts to clean Nag, Pili, and Pohra rivers, pointed out that the recent outbreak of pandemic should act as a wake-up call to all as any neglect of such water bodies could be detrimental to public health and hygiene. Pointing towards the river’s contaminated water polluting the Gosikhurd dam, the High Court asked all the authorities to tackle the root cause of pollution and contamination and not to undertake piecemeal efforts to clean stretches. A decade ago, the High Court had treated another media report on Nag River pollution as PIL and it ultimately led to commitment to construct sewage treatment plants (STPs) within defined time. Unfortunately, the promise was followed only in breach.
Describing Nag river as the signature river of Nagpur and lamenting over shocking apathy of all stakeholders in protecting it, the High Court had vividly described the pristine beauty of this signature river in the past while lashing out at the collective indifference of Nagpurians towards their treasure trove. Last year, the High Court took suo-motu cognisance of a report about dirt, filth and pig menace near Central Telegraph Office (CTO) and directed Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) to take steps to clean the stretch. The news reports had highlighted absolutely shoddy work done by NMC at nullah near CTO compound due to which filth had accumulated on one side and foul smell was emanating from it.
Apart from pig rearing which had created a fresh nuisance for the nearby residents, the report had highlighted mushrooming encroachments in the Civil Lines area near CTO and other institutions and shocking official indifference to tackle this problem.
Expanding the scope of PIL, the High Court pulled up NMC for not clearing Nag River, delay in completing STPs and thereby reducing it to a stinking water channel. The Court stressed upon the need for doing more and stated that the work done by NMC was not enough.
Referring to Nag River bank abatement plan envisaged with the help of Japanese agency, the High Court noted that such a comprehensive effort was needed if the river was to be cleaned up and restored to its glorious position.The High Court then asked NMC and State Government to place on record the detailed plan to rejuvenate Nag River.