Guj HC raps officials over non-functional sewage treatment plants

Gandhinagar, Oct 23 (IANS): The Gujarat High Court has reprimanded the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for the pollution on the Sabarmati riverfront and admonished that those officials accountable for the functioning of the sewage treatment plants (STP) laboratories, who failed to keep a check on polluted waters dumped into the riverfront will be suspended.

The High Court also observed that the root of the cause of the riverfront pollution issue was inaccountability by the authorities.

The court also instructed the government and concerned authorities to hold everyone accountable.

The bench of Justices JB Pardiwala and Vaibhavi Nanavati was hearing the case of the Suo Moto cognizance of the Sabarmati riverfront pollution after media reports about the sorry state of the river, which is not flowing at all, according to the Joint Task Force (JTF) constituted by the Gujarat HC for the issue.

"The root of the cause is that nobody is accountable and everybody is doing whatever they feel like. Hold them accountable. Accountability is something which is lacking... Nobody is answerable to anyone... you must hold people accountable, why not?," Justice Pardiwala observed on Thursday, addressing the AMC.

Justice JB Pardiwala said if the Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner was watching this live streaming, then we request him to hold accountable each person that spreads pollution.

Only this way will we make a headway in cleaning up Sabarmati. "The moment you start doing this, it will create fear and they will think twice (before doing anything wrong). We are not doing this for anyone, we are doing this for the people," Justice Pardiwala said while hearing the Suo Moto petition.

A report by the JTF brought out several flaws in the running of sewage treatment plants. Through the JTF, the court learnt that the laboratories inside the STP across the city, which were supposed to keep a check on the water dumped into the Sabarmati river were almost non functional.

"So if they are not functioning then those official needs to be suspended. We will suspend them," said Pardiwala.

The JTF and the Amicus Curiae Hemang Shah, both found that the Sabarmati Riverfront was in a poor state due to the 'legal' as well as the illegal releasing of untreated industrial effluents and sewage water into the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad.

Citing the example of the recent heavy floods lashed out in Uttarakhand which was the nature's reply to mankind for disrupting it, Justice Pardiwala remarked that "nature won't forgive for the damage we are causing it".

"Look at what is happening in Uttarakhand...," Pardiwala said.

The court has scheduled the next hearing on December 3.



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