On Friday, the Allahabad High Court demanded answers from the various state authorities in UP about the security of the Ganga River and the measures taken to guarantee that the river’s water quality does not deteriorate.
The High Court’s Full Bench, consisting of Justices Manoj Kumar Gupta, Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar, ordered the authorities concerned to record the related information by 28 January 2021.
The order was passed to preserve and rebuild the river in a Suo moto case registered by the High Court in 2006.
An interference plea was moved on Friday by Advocate Tripti Verma, saying she happened to visit Prayagraj for the Magh Mela function. It was kept on the banks of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and found that the water of both rivers had seriously degraded.
The intervenor told the Court that the water had been polluted and blackish and stinky. It was neither fit for drinking nor for bathing. It was also alleged that Kalpwasees and Sadhoos, who had gathered during the auspicious month of Magh on the banks of the two rivers, were drinking R. O. Water, like water from two rivers, is no longer appropriate for human use. Even, the water level has dropped.
This was since the sewage treatment plants do not work properly and contaminated water is dumped straight into the waterways, the complainant alleged.
He requested some time to get instructions when the Court asked about the matter from the lawyer appearing for the UP-Pollution Control Board. Counsels for Nagar Nigam and the State Government were both requesting time to notify the Court of the new position.
The U.P. Pollution Control Board shall instantly extract three samples of water from three separate rivers of the Ganga and Yamuna in Prayagraj. And, on the next date, send a report on its consistency after it is checked. The study will determine whether the water is safe for human consumption, if not safe for human use then what steps are being taken to make fit for human use.
In view of the claim that most of the S.T.P.s are not in working order, the District Magistrate of Prayagraj, is advised to send a progress report on the functioning of the sewage treatment plants in and around Prayagraj. Required photographic documentation, including photos, is attached to his study. He shall also mention in his study the measures taken to ensure uninterrupted water supply in the two rivers during the auspicious month of Magh. In this respect, it is open to him to obtain from the competent authorities the necessary data.
Nagar Nigam, Municipal Commissioner, shall file a personal affidavit offering specifics of the number of drains flowing directly into the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers in the Prayagraj District and of the steps in effect to extract impurities and contaminants.
He will also submit a study on the use of plastic/polythene in the field of Magh Mela. The State Government shall have, if any, a record notification provided by it regulating the use of polythene/plastics in and around the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers.
The case is set to be heard on 28 January 2021.