Writ Petition No. 39 of 2003 and 7308 of 2003
Bombay Environmental Action Group and Others
The State of Maharashtra & Others
Bombay Environmental Action Group is a non-governmental organization working in the field of environment protection. They filed the present petition concerning the protection of environment in Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani twin hill stations. The Petitioners besides challenging unauthorized / illegal construction also claimed that due to discharge of untreated sewage/trade effluent by the local bodies, hotels, educational establishments etc. the quality of Venna lake, a source of drinking water supply was deteriorated. The issue of management of municipal solid wastes was also taken up.
The Hon’ble High Court passed many interim orders directing the Respondents to take measures for protection of environment. MPCB conducted a door to door survey of the hotels, educational institutions and other polluting agencies and issued directions including that of closure. Status reports were submitted to the court from time to time.
The matter was disposed of by a comprehensive judgment dated October 19, 2006. Some of the important directions concerning MPCB are as under.
The hoteliers and commercial institutions in Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani to provide effluent treatment facilities by December, 2006. The MPCB to check the quality of effluent of the hoteliers and commercial institutions in the twin hill stations in January, 2007. If they do not meet the required standards, MPCB to close their activities.
The Mahabaleshwar Municipal Council shall set up two sewage treatment plants and solid wastes management facility within six months of getting possession of land i.e. by end of May, 2007. In case of failure, the State Government is expected to take action against the council including supersession of the municipal council. Similarly, Panchgani Municipal Council shall upgrade its existing sewage treatment plant and make it functional by end of May, 2007.
The Committee appointed by the High Court to monitor the compliance and shall continue to function till December, 2007.
Enforcement of parameters on the small restaurants (non-residential) and shop keepers shall not be insisted upon.