Jabalpur: Taking a serious note of the rising pollution level in River Narmada, the Madhya Pradesh High Court (HC) has rapped the state administration and Pollution Control Board for their futile efforts to check the pollution in the river.The court also directed them to submit an affidavit within four weeks, giving details about the steps taken so far to check pollution in the river.

A division bench of the HC comprising of Chief Justice Syed Alam and Justice R S Jha, while hearing a petition on Monday, expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of Narmada.

Coming down heavily on MP Pollution Control Board, the bench said, “Narmada is regarded as the life of the state, and if the Pollution Control Board cannot keep it clean, then what is the justification of its existence?”

Earlier during the day, it was argued that despite previous court orders, the concerned authorities remained negligent over the issue which resulted in the increase of pollution level in the river.

“Such is the apathy towards the river that big drains, which are the carriers of city- waste, are directly discharging the effluents in Narmada, which has made the river water unfit for drinking,” said a panel of counsels on behalf of the petitioner, Advocate Shailendra Singh.

The panel of counsels comprising Renu Agarwal, Vineeta Sahu and Keshav Sahu informed the HC that the court in its significant order on June 27, 2008 had directed the state government to pursue the issue seriously. But there was no marked improvement in the condition of the river.

“Since then, neither any action has been taken against the factories discharging hazardous effluents in river nor any other measure has been taken to resolve the problem,” the panel said.

The pending petition was filed in 1997, voicing support for the execution of Narmada Action Plan implemented by the Central Government.

“Ever since then, Omti drain and Khandari drain have been contaminating the river waters. Municipal body was also directed to set up a filtration plant, but the progress in this direction is nil,” the panel of counsels argued.

During the hearing, the court’s attention was drawn on the sample report of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, according to which the current Narmada water has been ruled out as ‘drinkable’ and can be used only for washing and cleaning clothes.

Taking report into account, the court granted four weeks time to the Pollution Control Board for submitting status report on the efforts made to keep the river clean.

JPN/Bureau