The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to constitute a committee of experts to survey the impact of construction activities in the vicinity of the Banganga Tank, a Grade-I heritage structure in South Mumbai.
The court asked the respondent developers not to continue the construction till they get notice of inspection by the committee. The survey should be conducted when piling activities are in full-swing, it added.
The court expressed concern that the tank might dry up if the water sources are destroyed. On Tuesday, it sought assistance from the Central Ground Water Board and the Geological Survey of India and asked Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh to take instructions from authorities concerned.
Singh submitted that the committee can be formed with experts to study the flow of natural springs and water pollution.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni on Tuesday was hearing a petition filed by the Board of Trustees of the Temples Charitable Institutions and Funds of the Goud Saraswat Brahman Community, which oversees the administration of Walkeshwar temple, and the heritage tank in the temple’s vicinity.
The Trust, through advocate Devendra Rajapurkar, had alleged that due to extensive construction activities by developers, the heritage structure is being affected. It had also claimed that the underground water flow to the tank is being contaminated on every day due to inflow of muddy water, and that there is an accumulation of mud in the tank.
Last week, the court permitted resumption of piling and construction by two developers in the vicinity of the tank at Walkeshwar temple, Malabar Hill, after it was informed by the state director of archaeology and museums that the allegations made by the Trust were incorrect.
The court said the committee should be constituted in coordination with the director general of the Archaeological Survey of India. “We leave it to the Centre to form the committee as it deems fit. The committee shall be directed to conduct inspection and submit a report by March 30.”
The court will hear the plea and peruse the committee’s report after three weeks.