Water Resources dept told to draw interim blue lines for rivers

MUMBAI : Following the directions of the Bombay High Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Maharashtra government has directed its water resources department to draw interim blue lines for the rivers in the state as a prohibitory step to check encroachment on the riverbeds. The interim blue lines will be effective until final flood lines are decided.

In a government resolution on July 10, the state government said directions were issued in May last year to fix the flood lines of rivers.

The High Court, while hearing public interest litigation, gave directions to implement an interim policy till the flood lines are fixed. Also, the NGT in 2015 directed the state to draw the interim blue line for rivers where final flood lines are not yet fixed. The local civic bodies should consider no development zone at a maximum possible distance from the interim blue line until the final flooding is fixed.

Thus, the interim blue lines have to be drawn on a priority basis for the rivers so that building permissions and encroachment in the area can be avoided, it said.

These interim or tentative blue lines should be decided on the basis of observed maximum flood level alongside river and documentary evidence as well as residents of the area, the resolution said, adding that the interim blue lines should be decided by connecting the locations earmarked as maximum flood levels.

The chief engineer of the water resource department would be empowered to approve the interim blue line and publish on the website.

“There will be a no-development zone within 50 metres from the interim blue line,” it said.

No development will be allowed without the permission of the chief engineer or the concerned planning authority.
The final flood lines have to be fixed within 12 months of deciding the interim blue lines.

For the structures falling in the prohibitive or restrictive zone of the interim blue line and flood line, the state government said it was not easy to relocate them.