Nagpur: The ongoing metro rail works on the embankment of 146 year old Ambazari lake has prompted the
citizens to raise concern over grave threat to the dam in view of the large scale excavation works by the dam’s side. Following a petition filed in this regard, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday directed Dam Protection Society (DPS) to come out with a blueprint to strengthen the dam wall, by April 15.
A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Gavai and Murlidhar Giratkar also asked DPS to take help of Water Resources Department (WRD) officials in this task, and start work for strengthening the walls once the blueprint is approved. The HC further directed Maha Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to pay for the expenses towards the wall from where its pillars were passing. The remaining expenditure would be borne by the government, which was told to recover the amount from the civic bodies that illegally allowed illegal construction and roads near the lake’s premises, flouting all rules.
The judges told the chief secretary to monitor the entire process and take care that there is no paucity of funds while carrying out strengthening works.
The directives came while hearing a PIL by Mohammad Shahid Sharif contending that MMRCL disregarded rules while constructing the station perilously close to the dam, thus posing a threat to its structure. He pointed out that no construction can take place within 200 meters of a dam. The state should consult expert agencies before undertaking such projects, which wasn’t done. NMC overlooked the report of the special agencies while granting permission to the metro work, he said.
Earlier, senior counsel Mohan Bhangde contended that they were not against Metro Rail, but the concerns expressed by DPS should be proactively addressed by the government, MMRCL and NMC. Senior counsel Surendra Mishra appearing for MMRCL clarified that they had sought requisite permissions for the pillar construction from state and NMC. He said they were willing to pay for wall strengthening where the metro would pass.
The petitioners contended that while a specialized body like DPS noticed certain flaws in construction work near Ambazari Hill/Lake undertaken by respondent MMRCL, neither it, NMC or the government have taken due cognisance thereof.