Save Bombay Committee (SBC), an NGO registered in 1973, has been agitating for improving the quality of life. It has taken up major issues both at national and local levels. SBC has provided guidelines to governments on developing viable programmes.
Save Bombay Committee
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Since 1973, SBC has been working for:
Over a period of time, the activities of SBC have extended from Mumbai in India to different parts of the country. Currently volunteers based in different parts of the world take up issues that have global relevance. Yet the "Bombay" in the name of the NGO has been retained to continue the legacy!
- Conservation of the finite natural resources through
- Rehabilitation of slums
- Decongestion of human settlements
- Ensuring minimum standards of public health
- Pedestrian oriented sustainable public transport
- Appropriate management of solid and liquid waste and
reduction of waste
- Safe treatment and discharge of waste water
- Elimination/reduction of toxic substances in private
and public life
- Providing sustainable low-cost alternatives to the
government for public projects.
- Promotion of chemical-free sustainable agriculture
Few major contributions of SBC are:
Save Bombay Committee is registered under Societies Registration Act of 1960 (Regn No: Bom 273/73 G.B.B.S.D/23.8.1973). Donations are 50% tax exempted under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act.
- SBC lobbied with all national political parties for creation of a Ministry for Environment at national and state levels in
1977-78. SBC approached and persuaded the then Prime Minister of India to set up a special Ministry for Environment under the
direct control of the Prime Minister that resulted in setting up the independent Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)
for the first time in India in 1978. The SBC provided information for setting norms and standards for the Ministry. Following
the setting up of Ministry at national level, all state governments now have independent Ministry for Environment operating
under the direction of the Central Ministry.
- Instrumental in preparing Indian Environment Protection Act, 1986.
- Instrumental in preparing Maharashtra Urban Areas Preservation of Trees Act, 1975. SBC took up the issue of making the Act more
stringent in 1997-8. The Maharashtra Government has amended the Act to make it more stringent against cutting of trees in public areas.
- Co-prepared Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) Regional Plan for Mumbai Metropolitan Area for 1996-2011. This
publication drew the attention of the Government of India which constituted the Urbanisation Commission to recommend a programme
for preferred urbanization in India.
- The Government of India has laid down norms for handling Municipal waste, medical waste and toxic industrial waste on the basis of solid waste programmes launched by SBC.
- The Indian Electricity Act does not permit power distributing companies to supply power to slums as they are not authorised. SBC
took up the case for supplying electricity to slums and finally the scheme for supplying power to slum dwellers was started
on the Independence Day, 15 August 1971. Following the example all electricity distributors throughout India have been
supplying electricity to the poor slum dwellers throughout the country though the Act continues to prohibit supply of electricity
- Persuaded the government to enact rule that every vehicle needs to be checked for exhaust emission every three months and get
- SBC successfully fought against demolishment of many heritage buildings and set up cells for listing them.
- Worked with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) as a consultant for three years in finalising work plans. MCGM
designated our partnerships as Advanced Locality Management (ALM).
- Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) developed by the Maharashtra Government promotes uncontrolled urbanization at the cost of
public transport and the poor. SBC prepared an alternative "Citizen Transport Project for Mumbai", recommending pedestrian based public
transport to ease traffic conditions and took it up upto the World Bank whom the Government had approached for a loan.
- Following the campaign by the SBC in 1973-78, the Government of Maharashtra took a policy decision to stop further reclamation of land
from the sea in Mumbai and to decongest Mumbai by shifting wholesale and intensive trading activities outside Mumbai.
- Integrated Solid Waste Management Programme devised by SBC has been adopted by various municipalities across India. Approximately
300,000 citizens started to practice it.
- SBC has filed over 100 Public Interest Litigations (PILs) on issues of public interest.
- Agitated for adherence to Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) to prevent destruction of fragile and crucial coastal ecosystem near Mumbai.
- Agitated for successful closure of Choincholi Bunder area dump yard, the biggest in Mumbai.
- Participated in Lake Conservation Programmes for saving lakes near Mumbai.
- Agitated for termination of Dabhol Power Project, a mega project promoted by the US MNC Enron Corporation.
- Agitated against Sardar Sarovar Dam on the River Narmada and Tehri Dam project in Uttar Pradesh. SBC got the World Bank to set up
the first ever Independent Review of the Narmada Project and the way World Bank extends loans without taking environmental aspects into
consideration. The Review Committee after full study of the issue published a Review Report that criticized the working of the World Bank
and recommended the Bank to withdraw from funding the project. The Bank stopped release of further installments for the Sardar Sarovar
that was then under construction. The SBC President Kisan Mehta visited Japan and convinced the Japanese Parliament Diet Members as a
result of which the Japanese Government withdrew the loan announced for the project.
- SBC filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Kerala High Court located in Kochin against the Kerala Government decision to
build a dam to generate 60 MW of hydroelectricity process in the Silent Valley, a shola forest. This turned out to be the first ever
case on issues of public interest in India. The Kerala High Court issued an injunction on the Kerala Government restraining the
government from constructing the dam. The SBC then approached Prime Minister of India to persuade the state government to not to proceed
with the project.
- Agitated for suspension of construction on the Maheshwar Dam, India.
- In 1977, SBC successfully fought the intended demolishment of many heritage buildings and set up cells for listing historic, aesthetic and architecturally important buildings. In 1990, government announced that it would protect the city's architectural heritage by listing some 600 buildings in Mumbai.
- In 1983, SBC successfully fought for revising the
Development Plan for Greater Bombay and brought out a detailed Citizen's
- In 2006, SBC provided inputs to Government of
Maharashtra towards banning of plastic bags in Maharashtra.
- In 2007, SBC partnered with Vigyan Ashram to win World Bank India Development Marketplace 2007 Award.