The Delhi High Court on Thursday rapped the East Delhi Municipal Corporation for not providing details of its officials posted in Shiv Vihar, which was in the news over release of poisonous substances into the groundwater from illegal dyeing units. According to a media report, untreated effluent are contaminating ground water, which is the main source of drinking water in the area, and it was inked to the high rate of cancer there.
Terming the media report, titled ‘Is blue the colour of death in Delhi’s ‘cancer colony’?’, an eye-opener, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar had on May 25 directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry into flourishing of illegal industrial/commercial activities in the area.
However, the CBI on Thursday informed the bench that the East Delhi Municipal Corporation was not cooperating with it. Irked over the EDMC’s violation of its direction, the bench said there is “deliberate non-compliance of its order” regarding furnishing of the details of the officers posted in Shiv Vihar of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), where these illegal dyeing units have surfaced.
The bench said that it will take criminal contempt action against head of the body if information of the then assistant engineer, executive engineer and superintending engineer, who were posted there till the date of closure of such activity, is not provided to the CBI. “Our concern is that everyone does their duty. Polluting industries have not surfaced overnight. This cannot be, but with the active connivance of the building and licensing departments of the municipal authorities concerned as well as the local police.
“This is a murderous attack on the life of people. They are suffering from cancer. It’s very unfortunate that no one is taking it seriously,” the bench said and directed the EDMC to immediately submit details of the officials.
The court has now fixed the matter for hearing on September 25, when the CBI has been asked to file its status report. Meanwhile, the CBI informed the court that it had lodged a case against unknown officials of the EDMC and the Delhi government for allowing illegal industries in the area since 2000.
The CBI said that it had booked unknown officials for criminal conspiracy and causing grievous hurt by act endangering the life and safety of others under the Indian Penal Code and for criminal misconduct by public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court on its own had initiated the case based on the news report highlighting release of carcinogenic bye-products into groundwater by polluting industrial units in Shiv Vihar. The news report had referred to death of two citizens on account of pollutants which they had imbibed from water which was polluted by non-conforming industry being run from residential premises.
Ordering probe, the court had said that upon completion of the investigation, the CBI shall proceed in accordance with law against all persons or authorities found responsible for the commencement, continuance of the illegal activities.
Many other east Delhi residential areas such as Mustafabad, Seemapuri and Seelampur are similar hotbeds of polluting units. After high court took up the matter, EDMC claimed it had closed down 54 units in Mustafabad.