The NGT has ordered “intensive survey” of the Kali, Krishna and the Hindon rivers in western Uttar Pradesh and directed the inspection of 316 industries which are allegedly polluting the water bodies.
The order comes after a plea filed by an NGO alleged that 50 villagers have died of cancer in western UP.
A bench headed by acting Chairperson Justice U D Salvi constituted a committee comprising officials from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), state pollution control board, UP Jal Nigam to jointly inspect and carry out survey of the rivers and groundwater in six districts in the western part of the state.
“They shall collect samples, cause analysis to be made of such samples at the Central Pollution Control Board Laboratory,” the bench said in its order.
“They shall carry out joint inspections of 316 industries…as well to give answers to the queries already made and ascertain contribution of each of the industries in terms of the contaminants generated by them,” the order stated.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) 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 groundwater more than 50 villagers have died of cancer in western UP.
It was alleged by the petitioner that groundwater 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.
The green panel said that the central and state pollution control boards will bear the expenses of the inspection and a report will be submitted within two months.
“The CPCB shall be the convener of the team. In case of any difficulty, necessary police protection shall be given to the joint inspection team and its members for the purposes of execution of this order,” the order stated.
Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the people were suffering due to the failure of the authorities.
The matter will be now heard on March 19. The bench had earlier observed that it was the fundamental duty of the state government to look after the health and the environment of the villagers.
Earlier, the UP Jal Nigam had faced the NGT’s ire for its failure to comply with a 2015 order directing it to seal all hand pumps which were releasing contaminated groundwater in six districts of the western part of the state.
It had earlier directed the state government and its officials to provide potable drinking water to the villagers of the six districts through GPS installed vehicles.