‘Is fencing enough to prevent citizens falling into SWDs?’

A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore.

A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore.  


HC questions BBMP about stopping work on covering drains with concrete slabs

Observing that the National Green Tribunal’s direction to the Haryana government not to cover stormwater drains (SWDs) is not applicable to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Karnataka High Court on Thursday asked the civic body whether it had taken the opinion of experts before stopping the work of covering SWDs, and whether it is enough to provide only chain link fencing (CLF) on either side to prevent citizens from falling into the drains accidentally.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S.R. Krishna Kumar issued the direction after noticing from the BBMP’s report, on progress made in remodelling, desilting and covering of the SWDs, that work of covering SWDs with concrete slabs was stopped based on the NGT’s order in the Haryana case.

While BBMP claimed that the NGT had asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to issue appropriate directions in general based on directions issued to the Haryana government, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board told the bench that CPCB has not issued any general directions.

Pointing out that the BBMP, in a large number of cases before the High Court, fails to comply with directions issued by the court unless serious action is initiated, the bench wondered how the BBMP adopted the NGT’s order in Haryana case The BBMP, without the opinion of experts, cannot avoid the work of covering drains with concrete slabs, the bench observed while hearing a PIL petition by Namma Bengaluru Foundation related to deaths in uncovered drains.

The bench directed the BBMP to inform whether views of the experts were taken on whether covering SWDs with concrete slabs would lead to flooding.

The bench noted from the data that CLF has been provided only for 230.68 kilometre length of SWDs of the total length of 842 km and it was proposed to provide CLF only for another 125.38 km during 2019-20 and 2020-21. Going by BBMP’s data, not even half of the total length of SWDs would be protected by CLF by the end of 2021, the bench said.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 6:31:01 AM |

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