The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court recently noted that the Nag river, from which Nagpur city derives its name, “used to be a vibrant and clear rivulet, reverberating with life and giving life force like a mother to her children, is now reduced to a cursed lady, thanks to industrialisation and urbanisation and alienation of the river by her own children.”
A Division Bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and N.B. Suryawanshi was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation regarding the concern and sentiment of every citizen of Nagpur for the neglect of, and polluting and spoiling, Nag river.
The court said, “Citizens of Nagpur have, over a period of time, suffered in silence as they witnessed transformation of the Nag river, gradually losing its pristinus, into a stinking channel of sewage, filth and industrial waste.” The court added, “Even the temples which stood tall, adorning the banks of the river, today wear a forlorn look, perhaps in sadness over the present state of the Nag river.”
Nagpur Municipal Corporation informed the court that some efforts have been taken and some are still being implemented to clean up the river. The court however said, “We find that these efforts may not be enough, in as much as they are also temporary in nature. Something more making a permanent impact would have to be done, if the river is to be cleaned up and restored to its original position.”
The Bench remarked that unless a comprehensive plan dealing with all aspects of the clean-up, beautification and maintenance of the river is drawn up, “no major success in restoring the river to its original state is going to be achieved”.
The court said major sources polluting the river included industrial effluents, sewage water originating from slums, houses and establishments situated within the limits of the corporation, free roaming of pigs on the banks of the river and also in the shallow ponds formed along the course of river. Dumping of garbage directly into the river, washing of clothes, animals and vehicles on the banks of river, encroachments into catchment areas, and indiscriminate felling of trees were other pollutants.
The court directed civic authorities to submit their comprehensive plan regarding the “preparation and sanction to revive the river”.