03 Apr 2024  |   06:19am IST

Driven by his wife’s plight, petitioner was forced to file PIL in High Court

The ground reality in Panchal household is that four air purifiers stand sentinel against the pervasive dust pollution and oxygen cylinders kept on standby for emergencies
Driven by his wife’s plight, petitioner was forced to file PIL in High Court

Team Herald

PANJIM: The historic visit by the High Court judges to inspect Smart City works was spurred by a public interest litigation (PIL) writ petition filed by a common man, Piyush Panchal. The PIL, driven by the plight of his wife battling a severe respiratory illness attributed to dust pollution, has drawn attention to the pressing issue faced by Panjim residents.

The gravity of the situation was vividly portrayed in the Panchal household, where four air purifiers stand sentinel against the pervasive dust pollution, while oxygen cylinders have been kept on standby for emergencies. This poignant depiction not only reflects the struggles of the Panchal family but also echoes the concerns of countless residents grappling with similar challenges in Panjim.

Speaking to O Heraldo Piyush Panchal said, "My wife has respiratory issues from some years back. But there are a lot of people in Panjim who are having asthma. All those people who have respiratory issues or breathing issues, the air pollution escalates their problems. It becomes very difficult for them to sustain and maintain the level at which they are at. I started facing a lot of problems because my house is full of dust.” 

He said, “Therefore, I had no option but to buy air purifiers and minimise whatever dust came into my house. It was just impossible. If you touch any place and if you wipe it in the morning, by evening there is dust. And it is very fine dust. It is airborne dust. They (Pollution Control Board) have no data or monitoring system for this fine dust. There was no option but to go to the authorities or to the courts to get some solution.”

Narrating as to why he filed the PIL, Panchal stated, “Obviously in the first year we were hoping that things would be completed in time. So obviously nobody will go to file a PIL. The next year people were worried that where are we going to land, it was looking directionless. This year it is absolutely horrible because they were closing all the roads. The reason for filing the PIL was I was quite fed up with the whole thing before also. What happens is if you look all around in Panjim among all the friends, people would always talk, but each one would be worried why I should file (the PIL). Ofcourse it takes a lot of time and it take money and energy also. Then I also had a problem with the health of my wife. She developed some respiratory problems. I need to keep the environment clean. You look around Miramar where I stay or in Panjim, you wipe in the morning, evening it is full of dust. So we tried washing the area around my house, we tried writing to the authorities.”

Panchal further stated, “I also wrote to the High Court whether there is some direction to what is happening and where are we going. It was not taken up suo motu. Therefore there was no other option so I decided and there were two or three other friends of mine who said we are also ready. That is the background of why I filed the PIL.”

Insisting that he is a common man, Panchal declared, “I'm not an activist or a politician. I was not the only person affected. There was a hue and cry. I was the only person who put it to the appropriate forum. After my petition it is quite alarming that the judges had to come down to see. It is not normal that the judges come down to see what exactly is happening. They have been put into such a situation that they had to come and have a look as to what exactly is going on. They must have come because of the hue and cry and not only because of one petition."

The anticipation looms large among Panjim residents as they await the outcome of this crucial PIL. With hopes pinned on the judiciary to advocate for their well-being, the community remains vigilant, seeking relief from the detrimental effects of dust pollution on their health and quality of life.


Iddhar Udhar