The Bombay High Court has extended the time granted to Railways to take an appropriate decision on allotment of land owned by it to Maharashtra government for construction of permanent toilets at the pilgrimage city of Pandharpur in Solapur district.
In March, the high court had directed the Railway Board to consider a proposal forwarded to it by the General Manager of Central Railways for allotment of the land by April 20.
However, the Railways filed an application before the court in May stating that the board has still not taken a decision and sought extension of the time granted to it.
A division bench of justices N H Patil and V L Achliya, while granting extension directed the Railways to take its decision as expeditiously as possible.
During the last hearing, the high court had criticised the government and other authorities for failing to put a stop to the practice of manual scavenging and not constructing enough mobile toilets in the city during the festival when lakhs of people visit it.
The court had then observed that if the Railway Board approves the proposal to allot land then the government shall take all steps towards construction of permanent toilets ahead of the Ekadashi festival in July.
"We are sure that the Railway Board will take into consideration the fact that availability of land is a matter of dire necessity. The largest gathering of pilgrims in Pandharpur is always on account of Ashadi Ekadashi, which in 2015, will be in the third week of July. If the land is allotted at the earliest then the government can commence construction of toilets immediately," the court had said.