KMC submits report to High Court on freeing EKW from encroachment

KMC submits report to High Court   on freeing EKW from encroachment

Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), on Tuesday, submitted a report to the Calcutta High Court informing that it has started the work of cleaning garbage from East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) while also taking measures to free it from encroachment.

The KMC counsel also submitted that a fund that was supposed to have been disbursed by the Irrigation department to KMC for engaging IIT Kharagpur for carrying out an assessment and data collection concerning EKW has not come yet. The Division Bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya was hearing a matter relating to a petition which alleged destruction, illegal reclamation and abandonment of water bodies and fish farms in the East Kolkata Wetlands in the city.

The petition had alleged that the wetlands are facing twin threats of illegal conversion for non-wetland use and illegal filling up by certain parties for commercial purposes. This is resulting in a slow but gradual change of the nature of these wetlands.

The petition said that if the wetlands are not preserved, conserved, and properly managed, its loss would severely deprive the local populace, approximately 130000 urban poor, including fishermen, paddy and vegetable growers from their sources of income from fishing and other related activities. Chief Justice Sivagnanam, referring to the photographs of piled up garbage, attached as evidence in the documents submitted, told the KMC counsel: “This is a mega problem. Look at the garbage that has been dumped. See the photographs.” He added: “We will monitor the matter so the desired result is achieved”.

The KMC counsel submitted a report with the court. He informed the court that KMC has already started removing garbage from the wetlands. He further informed the court that the civic body has also partially demolished a bridge there rendering it useless. One of the petitioners had alleged about permanent change of character of wetland to non-wetland use by way of a bridge being constructed over Bidyadhari 2 canal in the EKW. This resulted in the blockage of waste-water from flowing freely and affected the livelihood of the local fishermen, resulting in permanent alteration of the waste water canal.

The court directed the additional government pleader, Somnath Ganguly to accept notice on behalf of East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority and get instructions on the matter in the next hearing scheduled on July 16.

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