Expressing anguish over the civic agencies’ failure in hygienic upkeep in the national capital, the Delhi High Court Wednesday asked for explanations from government departments and officials on a petition that pointed out poor state of public toilets, infrastructure and facilities in health and educational institutions.
NGO Nyaya Bhoomi filed before the high court a public interest litigation that alleged that the government agencies had failed to improve the condition in the city despite the Supreme Court’s observation in 1996 that the “historical city of Delhi, the capital of India, is one of the most polluted cities in the world”.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked the civic agencies and officials for their responses by Jan 25, 2012.
Notices were issued to commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council, chief engineer of the Public Works Department, Delhi education minister, Delhi chief secretary, Vice Chairman of the Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Police commissioner, director of the transport department and the union ministry of urban development.
Highlighting the apex court’s observations, the petition said: “It issued 14 directions to the MCD and the NDMC to improve the condition of city to maintain hygiene.”
The petition said that no improvement was visible despite direction and in 2000 an activist approached the court against agencies.
Since no significant improvement was noticed till 2005, Nyaya Bhoomi approached the court for action against the civic agencies.
Accordingly, the high court again issued directions. After this, the MCD employees started working properly but conditions became bad once again.
The NGO said it sent its representatives to inspect the condition of government schools, hospitals, buses, railways platforms and received very disturbing reports.
One of their finding was that toilets in schools were stinking, some toilets were locked and students were urinating and defecating in the open.
Even the newly-acquired public transport buses were dirty, fans were missing and air-conditioners in buildings not working, hospitals were found with heaps of garbage, toilets were unclean, railway platforms were dirty and almost all covered drains were full of garbage, said the petition.
“Almost all roads in Delhi were waterlogged due to rains in September. This caused heavy damage to roads, many buildings collapsed and many people died,” said the petition, adding that the cost of damage due to poor drainage and collection of rain water on roads was hundreds of crores of rupees.