The Bombay High Court has taken cognizance of concerns raised by the Walkeshwar temple trustees that the Banganga tank, a grade-I heritage structure in south Mumbai, was being ‘severely affected’ due to extensive piling and construction activities undertaken by developers in the vicinity.
The court has directed the Maharashtra Director of Archaeology and Museums to appoint a competent officer to immediately conduct a survey of the tank and examine the piling and construction activities to ascertain whether the work was being carried out as per the laid down conditions, without affecting the state protected monument. The HC has also sought a report of the survey in a sealed cover before March 1.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni on February 22 was hearing a petition by ‘The Board of Trustees of the Temples Charitable Institution and Funds of Gaud Saraswat Brahman Community’, which oversees the administration of Walkeshwar temple and the Banganga Tank, located in the temple’s vicinity.
The trust, through advocate Devendra Rajapurkar, has submitted that due to extensive construction activities undertaken by the developers, the state-protected monument was being affected and that the underground water flow to the tank was being contaminated on daily basis due to the inflow of muddy water.
After hearing submissions, the bench said, “Having regard to the seriousness of the concern expressed by the petitioner, we direct the Director of Archaeology and Museums to depute a competent officer for the purpose of conducting a survey and inspection of the talav/ tank as well as the piling and construction activities undertaken by the respondents immediately, but not later than two days of receipt of a copy of this order.”
The court said the officer concerned would have to ascertain whether the piling and construction activities undertaken by the respondent developers were in conformity with the laid down eight conditions and whether, because of such activities, the water level and the quality of water of the tank was in any way affected.
The bench also asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to place before it the documents issued by the civic body pertaining to the construction activities and posted the next hearing on March 1.