The Jabalpur Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has on Monday upheld the ban on construction work in the catchment area of the Khandari reservoir.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla has heard the bunch of petitions alleging that many construction projects were being approved in the Dumna Nature Park, which is a protected forest area and approved area for tiger safari.
Advocate General Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav submitted that the Jabalpur Collector has received a communication from The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) requiring him to provide requisite report/documents mentioned in the order passed by the High Court on July 7, 2021. Pursuant therefore, the Collector is in the process of collecting the requisite documents along with projects’ plan prepared by The Environmental Planning & Coordination Organisation (EPCO) and superimposed map indicating allotments already made and proposed to be made for study of NEERI.
The HC Registry has also received a communication from NEERI informing about the e-mail which they have sent to the Collector requesting him to nominate a senior official from the Collectorate to coordinate with scientists from the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and NEERI. Accordingly, the Court directed the Collector, Jabalpur to provide all the requisite documents/reports and necessary information to NEERI and also depute a senior officer to coordinate with the Scientists from CSIR-NEERI with a team to undertake the required survey.
Manoj Sharma, counsel appearing for a petitioner in one of the petitions, alleged that despite interim order passed by this court on July 7, 2021, not to carry out further construction activity in the catchment area of Khandari Water Reservoir, except in respect of Airport expansion area, certain parties including Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing, Jabalpur, (IIITDM) are still undertaking construction over the area.
“This Court in an earlier order dated 07.07.2021 made it clear that the Commission, Jabalpur and the Collector, Jabalpur shall be responsible for compliance of this aforesaid order. We again direct the Commission, Jabalpur as also the Collector, Jabalpur to ensure strict compliance of the order passed by this Court on 07.07.2021. Non-compliance/disobedience of the directions of this Court must be brought to the notice of the aforesaid authorities, who shall do the needful by taking appropriate action in accordance with law against the erring party. List these matters on 14.09.2021 to see the further progress. Interim order, passed on 07.07.2021, shall continue till the next date of hearing,” the order reads.
In the last hearing, the Division Bench was informed that during the hearing of a petition pending since 2015, EPCO submitted a report stating that the area between Dumna and Khandari reservoir is the catchment area of Khandari reservoir. Rain water is collected from this area during the rainy season. Even after this, permission has been given for many construction works including Green Sports City in Dumna. After the hearing, the Division Bench had stayed the construction works in the Khandari catchment area. The expansion work of Dumna airport was kept free from the stay order.