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Implementation of the environmental norms by  Tabelas in the urban areas

Janhit Manch & Ors. have filed one Public Interest Litigation bearing Writ Petition No.2565/2005 against the State of Maharashtra & Ors. before Hon’ble High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdiction on the following grounds :-

1. There is an urgent need to provide lands for housing & amenities to the citizens. The land is scarce for humans & for their housing as well as amenity spaces, which are occupied by the hundreds of Tabelas all over the cities.
2. Tabelas in urban areas are all-round nuisance, health hazard, cause of traffic jams, burden on sewers & drains, eyesores  & ear sores, noisey & causing diseases in cattles.
3. The exercise of shifting of tableas is continued since January, 1977 through various Govt. Notifications, however, the political interference jeopardize the shifting action. The lack of  political & executive will scuttle the scheme of shifting of tabelas out of urban areas.
4. About 1,50,000 cattles housed in over 1000 licensed & unlicensed tabelas, which are kept in pitiable & unhygienic conditions. Many of them are suffering from various diseases. The milk extracted from such sick cattles is contaminated with germs, causing diseases to the consumers.
5. The petition is mainly filed for issue of a writ of certiorari or a writ in the nature of certiorari or a mandamus or any other appropriate writ or order under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, calling the records in the matter of tabelas, the attempts by the Respondents to shift them and the reasons for the failure etc. as well as the details of land acquired at Dapchari or any other place with further directions to the Respondents.
6. It is also contended that the petitioner entered into an agreement to purchase a land at Andheri (East) admeasuring 1874 sq.mtrs., where one tabela was existing on the said land at the time of agreement.   Subsequently,   it  was revealed that the owners of the land also entered into an agreement with other parties for sale of the said land without knowledge of the petitioner and therefore, he had to file suit, which is pending.  In the meantime, a dozen tenancies were created and the land is occupied by number of tenants i.e. the owners of tabelas. The present status of the laws in respect of tabelas as per inquiry by the petitioner is given as under :
i. There is no provision to remove stables outside limits of Mumbai, however, such provision is made under “the Maharashtra Keeping & Movement of Cattle In Urban Areas Act, 1976”, whereunder, Govt. of Maharashtra can declare any area to be prohibited area for keeping the cattles.
ii. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board issued the guidelines for prevention of pollution caused by the tabelas on 26/2/2001, however, the guidelines were never implemented.
iii. The Urban Development Deptt., Govt.of Maharashtra issued final Notification  on 29/4/2002 for modifying the relevant provision in Development Control Rules of Greater Mumbai, 1991, which gave 33 % extra FSI i.e. 1.33 FSI on the plots vacated by tabela owners.
iv. Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries Deptt. by G.R. No.WEP 1988/17257/22/88/ADF-8, dt.15/4/1991 re-declares the area specified in the Schedule-I & Schedule-II, to be prohibited area for the purposes of the said Act w.e.f. the dates specified in the schedules, which includes the entire area of Bombay city upto Mahim creek and Sion & part of Bombay Suburban Dist. w.e.f. 1/7/1992 and entire area of Bombay Suburban Dist. specified in the schedule. However, the said Notification was rescinded by the Govt. Notification of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries Deptt.
7. It is contended that the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board made certain efforts but since last 3 months has not moved the concerned Collectors and Corporations for shifting of tabelas as per its directions.

            Shri R.G. Pethe, the Water Pollution Abatement Engineer, MPCB had filed a detailed Affidavit in Reply to the petition on 5/12/2005 as under :

a. Maharashtra Pollution Control Board issued guidelines for prevention of         pollution caused by cattle stable owners (tabelas) on 26/2/2001 as under :
1. The place where cattles are to be tied shall be made either of cement mortor or of tiling shall be done with appropriate slope, so that the waste i.e. washing water and animal discharge shall be released in main drainage line.
2. The cemented drainage system shall  be made to carry the water to the center of shed and around the shed (to carry waste).
3. The shed which has 10 or more cattles, shall have the Gobar Gas Plant for process of animal waste and the Gas obtained from such plant shall be used as a fuel or to light the bulb.
4. The shed which has less than 10 cattles, shall construct septic tank for the process of waste water and the overflow shall be allowed to drain in soakpit. The pit shall be made for compost and necessary arrangement shall be made so that the mosquito and flies will not generate on it.
5. Sludge drying bed shall be constructed to dry the waste slurry obtained from Gobar Gas Plant.
6. Appropriate arrangement shall be made for the storage of cattle fodder, it shall not get spread in the area, similarly, the feed left shall be dumped in compost-pit.
7. Local tree plantation shall be done in and around the tabela/cattle area.
8. 40% of the total area of the tabela shall be free and the plantation of local trees shall be carried out at distance of 3 metre.
9. Insecticides shall be sprayed in the areas of tabelas.


            The Board has also laid down the guidelines for location of tabela & cattle shed as under :

1. Tabela or cattle shed shall be one kilometer away from the Public residential area and it is desired to have village site area (cattle field or cattle feed forest) or green zone to the nearby of tabela cattle-shed.
2. Tabela or cattle shed shall be one kilometer away from river and lake, and 15 metre away from existing wells.
3. Tabela or cattle shed shall be 100 metre away from State and National Highways.
4. The existing tabelas or cattle sheds shall be relocated phase-wise. Local self-government shall develop special areas by providing appropriate facilities for the development and prevention of pollution.
a. The Respondent No.2 (MPCB) had received the complaints forwarded by the Private Secretary to the Hon’ble Excise & Environment Minster, Govt. of Maharashtra for further investigation. The same were forwarded to the  Regional Officers of the Board for further investigation & report. The    Regional Officer of the Board at Thane communicated the guidelines    prepared by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to the Municipal Commissioner, Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation for necessary action alongwith complaint received from the Hon’ble Environment      Minister. He had investigated the complaint & issued directions to the   tabelas in the Mira Village, Mira Bhayander, Dist:Thane and directed to          stop the cattle stable activities, which has resulted into the pollution &           nuisance on account of improper treatment & disposal of solid & liquid   waste, on 23/6/2005. There are 78 tabelas at Mira Village, Mira Bhayander, Dist: Thane. 
      Since,  no effective steps are taken by the said cattle stable owners to comply with the guidelines issued by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board on 26/2/2001, the Member Secretary, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board directed the Dist.Collector,Thane, to comply with the directions about submission of an Action Plan for shifting / relocation of tabelas in the Thane to a conforming zone, otherwise, to face necessary action.
b. The Regional Officer of the Board at Mumbai carried out an extensive survey in respect of all the Dairy Farms located at Gut No.4, Aaray Colony Vasahat, Goregaon (East), Mumbai   and Balbhatt Road Nullah Area. He had identified 283 tabelas and given a detailed status report. He had observed that the tabelas are situated in a thickly populated area and having a number of buffalos and animals, which generate huge quantity of waste. However, these tabelas have not provided any collection/storage arrangement for their waste. No leachate & other liquid waste management & disposal system provided by any of the tabelas. No drainage system is provided to connect the liquid waste to the drainage system of the Corporation. The overall situation due to dung and washery activity was observed to be very poor. The owners have not provided any proper system for storage of solid waste and waste water generated due to washing & leatching etc. finding its way into the nearby nullahs and ultimately meeting either to a saline area or into the drainage system provided by the Corporation for the disposal of routine domestic liquid waste. This resulted into increase of pollution load on the drainage system and open nullahs, which may cause silting problems to the drainage system and thereby an apprehension in near future to the blockage of drainage & nullahs going towards sea / creek.

        The Member Secretary, MPCB had issued directions to the      Collector, Mumbai Suburb and all Tahasildars of Suburbs directing them        to obtain necessary time bound programme from all stable owners for            shifting of tabelas to the locations fulfilling the guidelines issued by the             Board for pollution prevention and to formulate necessary locational policy     for the future locations of the tabelas in order to protect and improve the           quality of environment in the said area in a time bound manner, by       directions dt.19/6/2005.

c. The Municipal Commissioner, Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation was also directed to take steps to shift tabelas at such a place, fulfilling the locational criteria. He had communicated that the Corporation in its General meeting held on 17/8/2005 passed Special Resolution No.104, to make amendment to the draft Development Plan by making provision for the location of tabelas. The Dy.Commissioner, Animal Husbandry Deptt., given Notice to various tabelas owners u/s 133 of Cr.P.C. to shift their tabelas outside the Corporation area in the Mira-Bhayander area.

         MPCB had made clear its stand that since, the tabelas in the    Corporation areas, causing serious environmental problems and nuisance,          the Board is supporting the prayer made by the petitioner.

          Hon’ble High Court of Judicature at Mumabi (Coram : R.M. Lodha & A.V. Mohatta, JJ) by its order dt.8/2/2006 observed that upon the survey of tabelas located in Aaray, Goregaon (East), Mumbai on 16th & 17th July, 2005, the pollution due to dung & washing activities was observed and overall situation in the area was found to be very bad. The tabelas do not have proper system for storage & waste water generated due to washing & leachates, as a result of which, its find its way into the nullahs nearby and ultimately meeting either saline area or into the drainage system provided by the Corporation for the disposal of routine waste. The tabela owners were not serious at all about the management of the waste.

          It is also observed that MPCB not opposing the prayer of the petitioner for shifting the tabelas from Corporation areas. The Hon’ble Court also observed that the environmental laws are to be obeyed and all steps need to be taken by tabela owners in that regard. The Tabela Owners granted 4 weeks time to provide proper system for storage of waste water generated due to washing & leachate and also to provide proper drainage system.

         The Hon’ble Court further directed MPCB to have survey done of tabelas at Aaray Colony,  Balbhatt Road Nullah and other area after 4 weeks from the date of passing of order and to submit survey report to the Court about the overall situation in the are, particularly, pollution due to dung & washing activity and the arrangement made for collection and storage of water and disposal thereof. The Court also made it clear that in case it is found that pollution due to dung and washing activity continues to be bad, the Court may constrained to stop the Dairy Farm activities  in the concerned tabelas and such other suitable order that may be found just & proper shall be passed.

          MPCB through Shri G.N. Mohite, the then I/C Regional Officer-Mumbai had filed latest report regarding overall compliance by the tabelas and stated as under:

1. No tabelas in that area have provided any arrangements for treatment and disposal of their waste. The dung & other waste including liquid discharge   was   found   in   the   grass-field   in the       nearby areas. About 3200 acres of land is owned by Aaray, Govt.of     Maharashtra Undertaking and is utilized to develop grass-feed for   the buffaloes.
2. The overall situated was not encouraging and thereby pollution being caused due to dung and washing activities as well as improper arrangements for collection & storage of water and disposal of waste.
3. The pollution due to dung and washing activity continues to be deteriorating the atmosphere and therefore it becomes necessary to stop Dairy Farm activities in the said areas.
4. It will be more appropriate to issue suitable directions to the Dist.Collectors to obtain time bound programme for shirting of these activities to a location identified by the Govt. and after giving sufficient time, the activities can be shifted to such a location.

The petition is pending for further hearing before Hon’ble High Court.

            Shri R.G. Pethe, Water Pollution Abatement Engineer, Shri D. T. Devale, Sr.Law Officer, Shri S.K. Purkar, Law Officer, Mrs.Vaishali Sadhale, Asstt.Law Officer & Shri G.N. Mohite, the then Regional Officer-Mumbai as well as Shri D.P. Waghmare, Field Officer, SRO-Mumbai-II, MPCB  have taken appropriate steps to report factual position to Hon’ble High Court under the guidance of Shri D. B. Boralkar, Member Secretary of the Board.