The Bombay High Court on Tuesday restrained the Maharashtra government from releasing water from Gangapur dam for the 'shahi snaan' (holy dip) during the ongoing Kumbh Mela at Nashik and adjoining Trimbakeshwar in the state on September 25.
The direction came during the hearing of a petition filed by H M Desarda, a professor from Pune, against the state's decision to release one TMC (thousand million cubic) water for every 'shahi snaan' during the Kumbh Mela even though many parts of Maharashtra are facing a drought.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and V L Achliya said the state government will have to take prior permission from the court if it wanted to use the dam water for Kumbh Mela.
Chief engineer of Trimbakeshwar municipal council assured the court today that it would not be releasing water from the dam on September 25.
The court said water can be released for drinking and other necessary facilities, but not for the holy dip in river Godavari during the Kumbh Mela which is considered to be auspicious.
The court had earlier criticised the state government for releasing two TMC water for September 13 shahi snaan.
"The government has a policy which categorises its priority list....supply of water for drinking purposes comes first and supply of water for such shahi snaan purposes comes in the last category," the court had said.