According to a statement released by NHRC on Thursday, the Commission has issued a reminder to the General Manager of Northern Railways to positively respond within a week to its notice in the case registered suo motu on February 28 on the basis of a media report quoting Indian Railways internal inquiry confirming contamination of drinking water on the Northern Railway stations.

NHRC has observed that the contents of the report, carried on February 27, if true raise a serious issue of violation of right to health of millions of passengers.

Reportedly, the water, sourced from 800 bore wells by the Northern Railway, is supposed to be treated before reaching passengers.

Of the samples tested by the Railways Medical Department for levels of Coliform Bacteria, which causes many water-borne diseases like Cholera, 100 percent samples from Lucknow Division, 59 percent samples in Moradabad Division and 94 percent samples in Ambala Division were found to be contaminated, the statement said.

The reason behind this problem is either the absence of water treatment plants or ill-maintenance at these stations.

Lucknow and Ambala Divisions do not have any treatment plants, while in Ferozepur and Delhi Divisions, chlorination is outsourced from private companies, but the condition of the plants is extremely unsatisfactory.

"Reportedly, officials, in-charge of the Northern Railway say that the amount of water to be treated is huge and achieving zero impurity is difficult,” the statement said.

"However, when one of the companies responsible for chlorination in Delhi, was questioned about the ill-maintenance of the water treatment plant, the company threatened to sue the concerned officer," the statement added.

 (Agencies)

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