Pune: The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) West Zone Bench, on Wednesday, directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to inspect the Haji Ali Dargah premises over alleged dumping and release of waste into the Arabian Sea.
Justice SP Wangdi and expert member Dr Nagin Nanda also ordered to take appropriate steps for mitigation of the condition, if allegations are found true. The MPCB has been asked to file an action taken report the next date of hearing i.e. August 24.
The order came on an Environment Interest Litigation (EIL) filed on January 23 by a group of students from the city-based ILS Law College. Advocate Asim Sarode is representing the petitioners. Aamir Shaikh, Deepak Chatap, Vaishnav Ingole, Revati Bagade, Shraddha Savakhande and Rakesh Mali are the students who had visited the Haji Ali Dargah and found the area unhealthy, dirty and unhygienic, which prompted them to file the EIL.
According to the petition, about 30,000 people visit the dargah in Worli, Mumbai. However, perhaps owing to the sacrosanct nature of the religious tomb, the transgressions with regards to maintenance of a minimum standard of cleanliness and hygiene have not yet been made a focal point of any serious mitigating action, whether legal or social. The various ceremonial paraphernalia, such as the various clothes, flowers, incense sticks, etc. are being brazenly and routinely disposed of in the Arabian Sea, as well as all along the nearly about a kilometre-long approach road leading to the dargah, which is situated in the midst of the Arabian Sea. This is in addition to human waste being discharged from the toilets on the premises of the dargah. This effluent and discharge forms part of the same water in which children are witnessed playing, thereby being seriously deleterious to the health and safety of those visiting the dargah, in addition to damaging the marine life and ecology of the sea, the petition states.