Civic body directed to care for caves

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Civic body directed to care for caves

Postby Lynn » Sep 15, 2005 3:40 pm

Civic body directed to care for caves

Express News Service

Mumbai, September 14: WITH a view to rescuing the city’s poorly maintained caves—designated national monuments—from doom, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ensure their protection and preservation.

The order comes in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Bhagwanji Raiyani of non-governmental organisation Janhit Manch.

The PIL was prompted by a series of Newsline reports in March 2004 highlighting the neglect of the city’s ancient cave temples and complexes at Mahakali (Andheri), Mandapeshwar (Borivali), Jogeshwari and Kanheri (Borivali).

Wednesday’s order, issued by Chief Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice D Y Chandrachud, also follows the submission of a report by the court-appointed committee formed on April 20 to investigate the state of Mumbai’s ancient cave monuments and make recommendations for their restoration and preservation.

As per the order, the cave monuments will now be cleared of all encroachments within a 100-metre circumference, with this area becoming a prohibited zone. Another 100 metres would be demarcated as a regulated zone, where construction would be permitted only after obtaining special permission.

In the case of the Jogeshwari caves, which house the shrine of Kamakshidevi—a deity revered by the Pathare Prabhu community—the civic body is to ensure that the open area above the caves is cleared of all illegal encroachments.

The committee also pointed out that encroachers had turned the area into a dumping ground. The high court has now ordered the area to be cleared and fenced to ensure that no further dumping takes place.

The leaking roof of the cave has also to be attended to, and the colony of bats inside removed.

Besides augmentation of security, levying of charges for entry and illumination, the court has also ordered the ASI to conduct a documented survey of the caves’ current state and prepare an action plan for the future.

The court has given the BMC and ASI four weeks to submit a reply on the action taken. ... sid=148625 CAVERS, CAVES & CAVING PHOTOS
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