Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court said that the authorizations conceded to the businesses to siphon treated effluents into rivers should be dropped. The Court made the observations while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and media reports against wastewater discharge into Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati river legally and illegally, The division bench of Justices JB Pardiwala and VD Nanavati said that those involved pressurising, threatening, and interfering with the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) officials will be detained under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act, the Court added.
The Court had then instituted a joint task force to look into the issue and suggested appropriate recommendations to remedy the situation. The Bench took a suo motu cognisance of the matter after it was reiterated by task force member, Rohit Prajapati of Vadodara-based NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti. Prajapati also informed that nearly a 120-km stretch of the river was irreversibly damaged and dead. Representing the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), advocate Devang Vyas said the board was only concerned about maintaining the norms and pollution standards. The permission to dump the effluents was granted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
Vyas said the board was also understaffed, and the available ones were attempting to hide and curb the polluting activities while many were being pressured.
The task force member and Vyas suggested conducting a data collection drive, map all legal and illegal connections, and identify faulty Common Effluent Treatment Plants because taking necessary measures.
The Court has asked the authorities to send their recommendation in writing to take appropriate action.