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Provide potable water to cancer-hit districts: NGT to UP authorities

Provide potable water to cancer-hit districts: NGT to UP authorities
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In a big relief to the villagers / residents of Western districts of Uttar Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday directed UP Jal Nigam to seal forthwith all those hand pumps which are releasing contaminated ground water in as many as six districts — Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Bagpath and Ghaziabad — observing that it is the fundamental duty of the state government to look after the health of villagers. 

“We direct Jal Nigam to forthwith seal the hand pumps of all Western UP districts which are releasing contaminated ground water,” a Bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said.

Notably, cancer is striking at a furious pace in the Western parts of UP. Doctors and medical experts have noticed the unusual frequency in this particular area with over a hundred deaths over the past five years. 

“In the swathe between Greater Noida and Baghpat, about 200 villages are facing the scourge. Even conservative estimates put the number of those who are in the second stage of this deadly disease around a thousand while those in the first stage of the disease would be much higher. What is worse is that even children aged as tender as eight years have lost the battle of life to the malignant crab pincers,” said Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist.

It was alleged by the petitioner that ground water in these districts was being polluted as a result of effluents being released underground by reverse boring by the industries. 

It had been said that there are several rivers like Hindon, Kali and Krishna that pass through the villages. “Due to the effluents being discharged into the rivers by the industries, the groundwater has become toxic and poisonous,” the plea had said. 

During the hearing, advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing for the petitioner, said children are being born with deformity while the people are suffering from cancer due to the high chemical 

contents found in the groundwater released from hand pumps in the villages of these districts. The panel then directed the concerned authorities to provide potable drinking water to the villagers of the six districts through the vehicles which must have GPS systems installed. 

It also directed that the District Magistrate, Sub- Divisional Magistrate and CEO of Jal Nigam and concerned authorities to maintain due record of providing potable drinking water in these villages.
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