SC Extends Stay on Futala Lake Construction in Nagpur

Futala Lake

The Supreme Court has extended the order until March 21, directing the Maharashtra government and its metro rail corporation not to conduct any construction activity at the renowned Futala Lake in Nagpur.

Initially, on January 25, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud had stayed the ongoing construction at the lake, which was built by the Bhosle dynasty, to which Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji belonged, spanning over 60 acres of land.

The petition, filed by the NGO ‘Swaach Association, Nagpur,’ prompted the stay on construction, which has been periodically extended.

Upon the request of Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General, and Shekhar Naphade, senior counsel, the matter has been scheduled for March 21, 2024. The bench ordered, “Interim order to continue till the next date of listing.”

Previously, the bench had acknowledged senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan’s submission, representing the NGO, that an order of status quo on the ongoing construction was necessary to preserve the water body. Concrete structures had been erected at the lake, he noted.

Observing the scarcity of wetlands in the country, the bench instructed the authorities to refrain from further construction activities for the time being. Additionally, it inquired about the removal timeline for concrete structures, including the viewers’ gallery at the lake.

Sankaranarayan highlighted that despite the Ministry of Environment and Forest declaring the lake a wetland, over 7,000 tonnes of concrete had been dumped in the tank, and construction was underway for a steel fountain in the middle of the lake for beautification purposes. He also mentioned the conversion of 16,000 square feet of land along the lake into a viewers’ gallery.

The plea emphasized that Futala Lake is a wetland, and extensive construction there could jeopardize the ecosystem and aquatic life.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte