The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on the directives of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has sent out notices to municipal corporations of the state, including Mumbai mentioning that they will have to pay fines of up to Rs 200 crore from April 1 if they don’t start treating 100% of the sewage water generated from their towns. 

Since notices have also been sent to Nagar Panchayats of the state, the authorities have mentioned that the quantum of the fines will depend on the amount of untreated sewage left by the local bodies. It is also said that fines will be levied based on the population of the region as well as its financial capacity. Estimates suggest that a town with a population of less than 10 lakh will have to pay Rs 10-20 crore and an additional 1 crore as fines.

This means that while a big city like Mumbai could see its fines rise up to Rs 200 crore, Pune will be fined Rs 100 crore. Any fines levied by the MPCB can be put up for review with the National Green Tribunal. 

In January 2019, the MPCB conducted a survey of the state’s rivers, revealing the sorry state of rivers like Tansa, Vaitarna, Bhatsa, Ulhas, Kalu, Patalganga, Surya and Savitri. Meanwhile, in Mumbai, the MPCB has set up nine water quality monitoring stations, with six of them reporting deterioration in water quality. 

This is also because a large chunk of the sewage is passed on to the oceans of Mumbai, a practice that this proposed fine by the MPCB is expected to end. It is said that around 1,500 million liters of sewage flows directly into the oceans each day. Keeping this in mind, the civic authorities, particularly the BMC, will have to work harder to curb this mess. 

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