Expert panel on SWDs must be headed by chief secy: HC

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday observed that an expert committee, to be constituted for undertaking the maintenance and cleaning of storm water drains, should be headed by the chief secretary.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar were hearing a petition filed by Citizens Action Group in 2014, seeking directions for the management of the storm water drains.

According to the petitioner, the drains are in a dismal condition due to unchecked sewage discharge, encroachment and consequent clogging, resulting in serious health hazards.

The bench observed that this was a matter of "true public interest".

It directed the petitioner to collaborate with the BWSSB and the BBMP and make a joint submission with regard to suggesting experts' names for the committee during the next hearing on February 16. They should be super experts and must have global knowledge and expertise in the field, it said.

Justice Ramesh orally observed that the two civic agencies already had technical experts, and that there is a need for super experts. The bench also stated that these experts should be willing to offer their voluntary services for the task.

The court will provide all judicial support in this matter so that the 'Himalayan' problem can be solved. This is a case of public engineering in a way, it added.

The bench, in an earlier hearing, had suggested that the committee consist of technical experts, experts from the Indian Institute of Science, government officials and citizens.

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