HC asks BMC, TMC to ensure manholes are covered
Mumbai, June 7 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today directed the Mumbai and Thane municipal corporations to ensure that no manholes, under their jurisdictions, were left uncovered.
A division bench comprising Justices R M Lodha and A S Bagga directed both the corporations to file affidavits within a week on the status of the manholes.
The court held that in view of the increasing number of accidents due to open manholes, it was essential that both the corporations should address the issue promptly.
The directions have come in the wake of a letter written to the Chief Justice by a medico, Dr Sandeep Rane, who had drawn attention to the dangers posed by open manholes. The letter was considered as a public interest litigation and the court had passed directions in December last year. However, taking into consideration the increasing number of accidents, the court 'suo motto' held that action needed to be taken for the same.
Senior Counsel K K Singhvi, arguing on behalf of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, contended that the corporation had provided for covered manholes but the work carried out by various sixteen agencies like the Maharashtra Telephone Nigam Limited, Maharashtra State Electricity Board, Reliance Energy Limited and others, was responsible for the problem.
The court, however, held that the sixteen agencies needed the permission of the respective corporations for digging up the roads and uncovering the manholes and, so, it was the duty of the corporation to keep a vigil on the work of these agencies and take appropriate action if there were any transgressions.
The court directed both the Thane and the Mumbai municipal corporations to file their affidavits after surveying the works in progress and the measures that need to be taken to keep the roads safe.
The court has also directed that while any work is in progress, the corporations should ensure barricades around the manholes as a safety measure.
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