A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday reiterated its earlier directive to the State government and the Ernakulam district administration to ensure that sufficient quantity of drinking water was supplied daily to all the Vypeen islanders.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A.M. Shaffique passed the verdict while disposing of a petition filed by Rosy Arrackal of Vypeen complaining about the water scarcity in the islands.
In its earlier order, the Bench had observed that providing clean drinking water did not seem to be the top priority of the government. In fact, the people of the island had been crying for drinking water for decades. The court had time and again reminded that government of its duty to provide drinking water to the islanders. It should have been accorded top priority by the government and its authorities. Even the change of the government had not made any difference to the plight of the people in the islands, the court had observed.
When the petition was taken up for hearing on Thursday, Basil Attipetty, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted that despite earlier directives, Vypeen islanders were yet to get potable water to slake their thirst.
He pointed out that government in an affidavit had already said that a U.N. study had observed that Vypeen islands were one of the thickly populated areas in Asia. As many as 70 litres of water was required a day in the islands, according to him. Women and children have to wait day and night in front of public taps to collect drink water which came in driblets.
In an affidavit, the government pointed out that two water augmentation schemes were being implemented for the Vypeen islands. While the Goshree Island Development Authority funded the scheme aimed at augmenting the water supply to the Elamkunnapuzha, Nayarambalam and Njarakkal panchayat areas while another HUDCO-aided project would cover Kuzhipally and Edavanakkad panchayats. The Bench had observed that these projects only remained in paper.