The National Green Tribunal today issued the notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and Jal Nigam to show cause why penalties are not imposed on them for their failure to provide clean drinking water in six western districts of the state.
Noting that people were forced to drink polluted water due to state government’s inaction in villages of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Saharanpur districts, the green panel summoned the District Magistrates and Chief Medical Officers of Baghpat, Managing Director and Chief Engineer of UP Jal Nigam.
“The officials concerned including District Magistrate and officers from UP Jal Nigam shall be present before the tribunal on September 7, the next date of hearing,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The Akhilesh Yadav government was also directed to file the response on what steps it has taken to bring the polluted groundwater within the permissible limits so that it may be used for drinking.
The tribunal had earlier rapped the state government for its failure to provide clean drinking water in the state and constituted a committee to look into the issue.
The green panel had lambasted the state government, Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and UP Pollution Control Board for risking the lives of “children” in these villages.
The green panel had constituted a committee comprising Chief Secretary, Chairman and Member Secretary of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Managing Director of UP Jal Nigam and ordered the panel to inspect and provide potable water.
The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by scientist C V Singh, who had claimed that farmers and poor villagers were facing health hazards as they were forced to drink highly contaminated ground water in these six districts.
Petitioner’s counsel Gaurav Bansal had claimed that UP government has failed to provide clean drinking water to children in different villages of Baghpat district and were developing serious physical disabilities because of drinking ground water.
He had also submitted various photographs purportedly showing infants and young children having developed serious disabilities, mentally and physically, due to contaminated water