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Notice has been issued to the state government and Gujarat Pollution Control Board by the Gujarat High Court on a PIL  seeking immediate action to clean up four of the state rivers which it claims are polluted with sewage water and other bio-hazards.

A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala has also asked the municipal authorities of Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat to file their replies and fixed the next hearing in the first week of June.

Petitioner Prakash Kapadia, president of a NGO ‘Jagega Gujarat Sangharsh Samiti’, had raised the issue of pollution in the four major rivers of the state – Sabarmati in Ahmedabad, Vishwamitri (Vadodara), Tapi (Surat) and Aji (Rajkot) – in a PIL filed through advocate R C Jani.

The petitioner has claimed that “all four rivers are found joined with the sewage containing organic decomposed material and zero level of oxygen and are also flooded with faecal micro-organics and bio-hazards.”

It has also claimed that the state government and other authorities like GPCB and local municipal corporations in the respective cities have failed to perform their duty to keep the rivers clean, hygienic and pollution free.

The petitioner has alleged that, “due to corruption in the system, the industries were openly discharging polluted water in the rivers and GPCB has failed to contain and control it.”

The PIL has sought direction to authorities to initiate the work for cleaning up the rivers with immediate effect and submit a report before the court by appointing an independent person, who is not connected with government, as court commissioner.

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