A bench of Justice A K Patnaik and Justice M Y Eqbal has also sought the response on the steps being contemplated by way of preventive measures to rule out the spread of diseases in Haridwar and Rishkesh area of Uttarakhand and in adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh during the forthcoming yatra.

The right to life, guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution, of the petitioners and people living in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh was likely to be infringed "if effective and preventive measures" were not taken by the centre and Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to "prevent the outbreak and spreads of epidemic in flood affected areas on account of contamination of water resources", the PIL petition said.

Appearing for the petitioner Swami Achyutanand Tirth and others, Counsel Anuraj Tomar said that there was an imminent danger of the outbreak of epidemic on account of hundreds of bodies decaying in open or those buried under the debris in Uttarakhand. The other PIL petitioners are Shiv Kumar Gupta, Upendra Dutt Sharma and Permod Kumar.

Citing the forthcoming annual "Kanwar Yatra" in which 1.95 crore "Kanwariyas" had visited Uttarakhand last year, the petitioners claimed that there was an imminent danger to the public health as the state government was totally unprepared to keep these areas clean and hygienic.

The PIL apprehended that the situation could worsen as both the state and the Central governments has not been able to deal with the fallouts of the catastrophic disaster brought about by the recent devastating floods.

The contamination of Ganga water, which is the main source of drinking water, would have serious consequences for the people and their health, the PIL said.


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