DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Taking serious cognisance of lack of implementation of the earlier orders to work towards preventing Ganga contamination and environmental damage caused by polythene in Uttarakhand, the Uttarakhand high court in Nainital has summoned all the 13 district magistrates of Uttarakhand. The district magistrates have been directed to appear before the high court with all the relevant documents on March 17. The high court has asked the district magistrates to apprise it of the action taken by them for implementation of the orders passed in the past by the court. If the court finds no action has been taken to clean the Ganga river and ridding the environment of damage caused by polythene, the court may initiate action against the officials concerned for contempt of court. According to the information received about the case details, advocate Lalit Miklani has filed a public interest litigation in the high court of Uttarakhand stating that in the past the high court had ordered that the pollutants and waste being dumped into the Ganga river be stopped apart from which polythene was banned across the state. Further, the petitioner states that many orders had been issued regarding the cleanliness of water in the Ganga river. The case was presented before the high court division bench comprising justice Rajeev Sharma and justice Alok Singh. The petitioner brought to the cognisance of the court that copies of the order and request letters had been sent to all the district magistrates in the state but no concrete action was taken from their end towards making the state polythene-free.
It is pertinent to mention here that though Uttarakhand boasts of more than 60 per cent of its area being under forest cover and is the place of origin of the national river Ganga and other important rivers apart from the unique wealth of Himalayan flora and fauna found in the state. However, varied sources of pollution ranging from raw sewage to chemical affluents are dumped into the Ganga river and its tributaries at various places along the stretch of the river in the state of its origin. Apart from this the failure of the authorities to ensure proper scientific waste disposal clubbed with the indiscriminate use of polythene bags exacerbated the damage being caused to the environment in Uttarakhand. The State Government too had announced state-wide ban on polythene bags but confusion about whether the ban was implied on all polythene bags or only on those not meeting certain thickness standards led to the local administration’s efforts fizzling out. Apart from this, protest headed by members of the business fraternity who are also active in the field of politics also hampered efforts undertaken by local administration in the provisional state capital Dehradun towards effective implementation of the ban on polythene bags. Observers point out that the high court summoning the district magistrates of the state’s 13 districts is an important development that will help stem environmental damage caused by polythene waste and contamination of the national river Ganga in the state.