Bombay High Court Seeks a Detailed Report Ascertaining the Damage at Banganga Tank

Bombay High Court Seeks a Detailed Report Ascertaining the Damage at Banganga Tank

A petition filed by the Gaud Saraswat Brahman Temple Trust has alleged that construction and extensive piling by developers at the Banganga tank in Walkeshwar, Malabar Hill is affecting the local ecology while also damaging the Grade-I heritage structure. 

The Bombay High Court bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni heard the petition on Monday. 

The bench has ordered the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums to send an official to the location so as to assess the alleged damage. The court has also sought a report on the same which is to be submitted in a sealed cover on the 1st of March.

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The petitioners added that the natural underground water streams that naturally flow into the tank are being contaminated regularly with the tank witnessing a large concentration of mud due to the muddy waters that flow in.

Residents and community members had lodged complaints about the contaminated water flowing into the Banganga tank in September last year. Advocate for the trust, Devendra Rajapurkar said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), as well as the directorate, has a legal obligation to protect the tank from “spoliation, disfigurement, and destruction”. 

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Senior advocate Milind Sathe represented the developers NHP Realty LLP and Helecite Residency Pvt Ltd. He argued that the directorate had initially issued a stop-work notice as permissions weren’t acquired, and added that restrictions were lifted on January 22 after the developers submitted a proposal containing reports of technical experts.   

The counsel for the developers added that they were permitted to proceed with works in the region subject to compliance with eight existing conditions. 

The officer ordered to survey the location by the court will be tasked with ascertaining “whether by reason of such activities, the water level, as well as the quality of water of the talav (tank), is in any way affected or not, as alleged by the petitioner”. The court-ordered survey will also determine if the construction activities are in compliance with the aforementioned eight conditions.

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