Justice S.U. Khan, former Judge of the Allahabad High Court, heading a Committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal, inspecting the case of pollution in rivers which had resulted in the death of 71 people in Gagnoli village, Uttar Pradesh, in a letter to the NGT showed extreme disappointment on officials failing to bring pipeline supply of water to inhabitants in order to prevent villagers from drinking contaminated water from the rivers.
“I first concentrated on supply of piped water to the villages near the Hindan River so that people of the said villages could avoid drinking contaminated water. I talked on telephone repeatedly to the concerned officers / employees from the top to the bottom; Chief Secretary, Principal Secretaries, Commissioners, Engineers and even the lowest level clerks. I admit that in spite of use of all the persuasive skills at my command, I have not been able to make any progress or achieve anything”, the former Judge told NGT.
The Committee, formed to supervise in its report told the court that due to absence of assistance of authorities it is not able to undertake any awareness programmes to prevent villagers from drinking contaminated water.
The report further read, “Hand pumps from which contaminated water is extracted and consumed are still functional. No measures have been taken by the authorities for supply of potable drinking water in the affected areas. No effort has been made to identify the victims for compensation.”
According to several studies, more than 71 people have died from cancer and more than 47 persons are bed-ridden in the Gagnoli village in Baghpat District in Uttar Pradesh. Overall, inhabitants of 154 villages are being affected as per the report.
–India Legal Bureau