Saturday, July 16, 2005

Terrible tragedy at Bharat Bhavan / Verdict in Mavoor toxic effluent case upheld /


BHOPAL: Nearly 300 paintings, including priceless ones by J. Swaminathan and
M. F. Husain, have been destroyed following flooding of the basement of
Bharat Bhavan, the massive multi-arts complex here, in the wake of a
cloudburst.

Bharat Bhavan Director Pawan Jain said on Wednesday the damage was
extensive. Over 10,000 paintings - oil on canvas and watercolour - were
stored in the basement.

There was a sudden cloudburst on Monday evening, and a section of the
basement was flooded. Most of the material kept there was soaked. According
to Mr. Jain, 200 to 300 paintings, including the ones by Husain and
Swaminathan, were destroyed. Well over 2,000 paintings were damaged.

Criticising "construction and detailing" of the Bharat Bhavan complex,
designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa, Mr. Jain said: "Care had
not been taken to prevent seepage or protect the building from the Bhopal
Upper Lake's backwater thrust, which is a major cause of seepage at the
floor level. A committee of technical experts that was set up to study the
problem of seepage had raised this issue."

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Verdict in Mavoor toxic effluent case upheld

Staff Reporter

Firm's officials have to undergo SI of one-and-a-half years

KOZHIKODE: The Kozhikode District and Sessions Court on Wednesday upheld the
verdict of the Chief Judicial Magistrate's (CJM) Court sentencing the
defunct Mavoor unit of Grasim Industries (Pulp Division) president R. N.
Saboo, and three other top officials to simple imprisonment of
one-and-a-half years and imposing a penalty of Rs.5,000 each for allowing
toxic effluents to flow from the factory into the Chaliyar river.

District Court Judge Thomas P. Joseph endorsing the lower court's verdict of
November 13, 2003, convicted the other officials, including the factory
Technical Wing joint executive president C. Kochukrishnan, the Technical
vice-president C. L. Gathani and the Processing Department general manager
M. P. Raja.

While dismissing the appeal of the accused against the CJM court verdict,
the District Court also issued summons asking them to appear before the CJM
court on August 8 to enforce the conviction. It confirmed the findings of
the CJM court that the factory had discharged untreated and toxic effluent
into the Chaliyar river causing injury to public health and aquatic
organisms.

This was also the first time top management officials of a industrial unit
in the State had been convicted on account of discharging untreated
effluents from a factory into a river. The verdict was based on a case filed
by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) environmental engineer
A. K. Hansraj on October 3, 1998.

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