Shimla, May 13
Expressing concern over the issue of non-release of water from the Pandoh and Barot dams to the Beas and Uhal rivers, the HP High Court today issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Environment Science and Technology), Chairman, HP State Pollution Board and Deputy Commissioner, Mandi.
Can cause scarcity of drinking water
The petitioner has alleged that this act of dam authorities can result in spreading of diseases. It is also a threat to environment and aquatic creatures and can also lead to scarcity of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.
While issuing the notices, a division bench, comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sandeep Sharma, further directed the departments to file their response before the next date of hearing and listed the matter for May 31.
The court passed these orders on a petition taken up suo moto by the court as a Public Interest Litigation on a letter addressed to the Chief Justice by Narender Saini, chairman, Dev Bhumi Environment Savior Forum, Mandi.
The petitioner alleged in his letter that as per the order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on August 9, 2017, it is mandatory to release 15 to 20 per cent water from dams. However, from March 27 onwards, only nominal water is being released from Pandoh and Barot dams to the Beas and Uhal rivers.
The petitioner has alleged that several requests were made to the department concerned and a complaint was also registered on the Chief Minister’s helpline number. The petitioner further alleged that the issue was also brought to the notice of the Regional Pollution Control Board, Bilaspur.
The officials of the Pollution Control Board even conducted inspection of the Pandoh and Barot dams, during which water was released for a while. As soon as the inspection party left, the flow of the water was again stopped. It has been further alleged that dam authority is providing wrong information to the state government that they are releasing water as per norms.
It was also stated by the petitioner that the Pollution Control Board has issued several show cause notices to the dam authorities, but to no avail. The petitioner has alleged that this act of the dam authorities could result in spreading of diseases. It is also a threat to the environment and aquatic creatures and can also lead to scarcity of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.
The petitioner has submitted that he is working for the protection of environment and has sought indulgence of the high court in the matter.