New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal Thursday directed Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam to seal forthwith all those hand pumps which are releasing contaminated ground water in six districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, observing that it is the fundamental duty of the state government to look after the health and environment of villagers.
"We direct that Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam to forthwith seal the hand pumps of all Western UP districts which are releasing contaminated ground water," a bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.
The panel was hearing a petition filed by NGO Doaba Paryavaran Samiti head C V Singh, a retired scientist of Haryana Pollution Control Board, who has alleged that due to the consumption of contaminated ground water more than 50 villagers have died in Western UP of cancer.
The bench constituted a committee consisting of officials from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Uttar Pradesh government and Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam to submit a thorough study with analysis report and relevant data on the issue of contaminated ground water in western districts of the state.
It was alleged by the petitioner that ground water in Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Bagpath and Ghaziabad districts was being polluted as a result of effluents being released underground by reverse boring by the industries.
During the hearing, advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing for the petitioner, said children are being born with deformity while the people are suffering from cancer due to the high chemical contents found in the ground water released from hand pumps in the villages of these districts.
The panel then directed the state government and its officials to provide potable drinking water to the villagers of the six districts through the vehicles which must have installed GPS system.
It also directed that the District Magistrate, Sub- Divisional Magistrate and CEO of UP Jal Nigam and concerned authorities to maintain due record of providing potable drinking water in these villages.
The panel said that the committee shall find a mechanism and a scheme to save the ground water in these villages and to submit the same within three months.
The green panel posted the matter for further hearing on January 12, 2016.
The panel also said that the committee is at liberty to engage experts to analyse the impact of use of fertilizers, insecticides and pesticide on contamination of ground water.
On September 7, the Tribunal had directed the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh to attend a meeting this week for devising a plan for improving water quality in the six districts of western Uttar Pradesh.
The panel had earlier directed UPPCB to analyse the chemical composition of the effluents generated by each industry in these districts.
The petitioner had said that there were several rivers like Hindon, Kali and Krishna that pass through the villages of western Uttar Pradesh.
"Due to the effluents being discharged into the rivers by the industries located in Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat and Meerut, the groundwater has become toxic and poisonous," the plea had said.
It was stated by the petitioner that Gangnoli village of district Bagpath have 37 cancer patients while 71 people have died due to cancer and the hand pumps in the area released contaminated ground water which has high quantity of lead, arsenic, sulphar.