Updated: September 17, 2021 3:14:52 am
The Gujarat High Court, in an order dated September 14, made public on Thursday, issued directions, including the constitution of a joint taskforce, to investigate and remedy the issue of untreated wastewater being discharged in the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad.
A division bench of the Gujarat HC had taken suo motu cognisance of the issue based on media reports in August. The joint taskforce will be headed by Prasoon Gargava, Regional Director, Central Pollution Control Board and shall include 10 other members comprising Deepa Gavali, director and secretary of Gujarat Ecology Society, Professor Upendra Patel, Rohit Prajapati of Vadodara-based NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, an officer from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, two officers from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board.
The taskforce will also include one officer from Torrent Power, a police personnel not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and two Armed Police Constables, as per the directions issued by the bench in its order.
The court of Justices JB Pardiwala and VD Nanavati has also directed the AMC to furnish the “true and correct details in terms of the volume and the parameters as stipulated by the National Green Tribunal” for every sewage treatment plant, for every common effluent treatment plant as well as for effluent treatment plants, including the volume discharged by these plants within Ahmedabad district.
It has also sought that the civic body also provide “the necessary particulars and details as regards the sanctions/ permissions/ authorizations granted by it to the industrial associations, industrial set-ups, residential premises running the industries or any such set-up to discharge waste water into the sewer lines.”
After court-appointed amicus curiae Hemang Shah submitted, during the hearing on September 14, that an agricultural cooperative society — Miroli Piyat Sahakari Mandli — has set up a “full-fledged pumping station”, by the approval of Ahmedabad district collector, several years ago, the court by its directions also impleaded the society as a party to the litigation and issued notice to the body. The society’s pumping station draws the sewage-cum-industrial effluent mixed water to irrigate their fields.
The bench has also sought that the AMC furnish the details about the Miroli Piyat Sahakari Mandli with specific instructions that the court wants to know “how the pump rooms have been set-up by the Mandli at the place in question and how the electric connection came to be provided to such pump rooms,” as well as “in what manner the Mandli is being permitted to draw the sewage water as well as the trade effluent and release the same in the agricultural fields.”
The mandl is expected to respond to the notice issued by September 23, when the bench is expected to take up the matter for further hearing.
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