New Delhi, Oct 21: Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam today faced the National Green Tribunal's ire for its failure to comply with a 2015 order directing it to seal all hand pumps which were releasing contaminated ground water in six districts in the western part of the state.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar pulled up the authorities for not complying with its November 2015 order and asked why a joint affidavit has not been filed yet.
"It's shocking. Why don't you read the order and comply with it," the bench said and granted the last opportunity to UP Jal Nigam to comply.
The authorities sought more time to complete the process of dismantling the hand pumps after which the tribunal granted them a week's time and posted the matter for October 28.
"Authorities say they need more time. In the interest of justice, we give last opportunity and grant one week's time. Put up the matter for further hearing on October 28," the bench said.
The green 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 consumption of contaminated ground water over 50 villagers have died in western Uttar Pradesh of cancer.
Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing for petitioner, sought that heavy cost be imposed on state authorities so that they get a lesson as children were also dying after drinking contaminated water, contending that the people were suffering due to the failure of the authorities.
During the hearing, the bench asked whether the state government was providing potable water to the poor villagers of thse six districts, to which the state's counsel replied in affirmative.
The tribunal was also informed that the government was in the process of dismantling the hand pumps and its completion required some more time.
The bench had earlier observed that it was the fundamental duty of the state government to look after the health and environment of villagers.
In November last year, the bench had directed UP Jal Nigam to forthwith seal the hand pumps of all western UP districts which were releasing contaminated ground water.