HC orders inspection of construction work around Banganga talav

The Bombay High Court recently ordered the director of Archaeology and Museums, Maharashtra, to depute a competent officer to conduct a survey and inspection of the ongoing piling and construction activities around Banganga talav at Walkeshwar, Malabar Hills, in south Mumbai.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a petition filed by the Board of Trustees of the Temples Charitable Institution and Funds of Gaud Saraswat Brahman Community. The petition alleged that because of the extensive piling and construction activities, Banganga talav, which was a State-protected monument and a grade-I heritage structure, was being severely affected.

The plea said, “The natural underground water streams/water flow to the talav is being disturbed and contaminated on day-to-day basis due to the inflow of muddy water as well as accumulation of mud in the water of the talav in huge quantity.”

On February 22, senior advocate Milind Sathe, appearing for developers who are carrying out the work, told the court that initially, the director of Archaeology and Museums had directed them to stop work due to their omission to obtain permission from the directorate for commencing the work of piling and construction. However, after submitting a proposal along with reports of technical experts, and on perusal and scrutiny thereof, the director on January 22, 2021, lifted the stop work order and permitted the authorities to proceed with the piling and construction activities subject to strict compliance with certain conditions.

The court said, “Having regard to the seriousness of the concern expressed, we direct the director of Archaeology and Museums to depute a competent officer for the purpose of conducting a survey and inspection of the piling and construction activities around the talav undertaken by the developers immediately, but not later than two days of receipt of a copy of this order.”

The HC said such officer should ascertain whether piling and construction activities of the nature undertaken by the developers were in conformity with the eight conditions mentioned in the order by the director and also whether by reason of such activities, the water level as well as the quality of water in the talav was in any way affected or not, as alleged by the petitioner.

The court directed the officer to file the report in a sealed cover on March 1 and told Mr. Sathe to produce the technical report and the recommendation referred to in condition of the order by the director.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 5:11:24 PM |

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