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SC seeks status report on improvement of quality of water in Yamuna

File photo of river Yamuna in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a status report from the National Green Tribunal-appointed River Yamuna Monitoring Committee led by former Delhi Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra about its recommendations to improve the quality of water and the extent to which States have implemented their suggestions.

A Bench led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde accepted the submission by senior advocate and amicus curiae Meenakshi Arora that the Committee, which also comprises former NGT expert member B.S. Sajwan, should be roped in for the benefit of its experience and work on the river.

“The committee is overseeing the programme on the Yamuna. It will help us know about the status of sewage treatment plants etc. A detailed status report should be sought from it on its recommendations and their implementation till date,” Ms. Arora submitted.

Suo motu cognisance

The Supreme Court had, on January 13, taken suo motu cognisance of the contamination of rivers by sewage effluents through lapses committed by municipalities, saying “open surface water resources including rivers are the lifeline of human civilisation”.

“Deterioration of quality of fresh water has a direct co-relation with the quality of public health... The right to clean environment, and further, pollution-free water, has been protected under the broad rubric of the right to life,” a three-judge Bench led by the Chief Justice had said.

The court had decided to start its suo motu exercise with the case of Yamuna.

The suo motu PIL was registered after the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), represented by advocate Shadan Farasat, accused Haryana of discharging pollutants into the Yamuna, due to which there was an alarming increase in ammonia levels.

The PIL titled “Remediation of polluted rivers” was registered and the court had issued notice to the Centre, the Ministries of Environment and Housing and Urban Affairs and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan included as parties

The court had also sought response from Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. On Tuesday, it included Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as parties.

“It is the duty of the State to ensure access to clean drinking water which is included in right to life... The mandate of law is clear as far as setting up of sewage treatment plants and stoppage of sewage effluents in surface water are concerned, but it is often found that either the sewage is not treated through a plant before being discharged or the treatment plants are not functional,” the court had said in its order on January 13.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 12:55:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-seeks-report-from-ngt-appointed-panel-on-cleaning-of-river-yamuna/article33608639.ece

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