The Delhi High Court today asked the authorities about the steps they have taken to improve the quality of drinking water at the Northern Railway stations and at their platforms. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra asked them to inform it about the implementation of the suggestions given by the petitioner in this regard.
“Inform us about the steps you (Northern Railway) have taken for providing safe drinking water in the trains, at the platforms and related establishments,” the bench said.
The court was hearing a plea by NGO — Centre for Public Interest Litigation — which has sought “an independent and preferably court-monitored probe into the neglect of the quality of the drinking water supply and the manipulations in the award of contracts for supply of chlorination plants for past several years.”
Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Govind Jee, appearing for the NGO, submitted that suggestions were given, but that has not yet been implemented.
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The bench sought the responses from the authorities concerned by next date of hearing, September 12.
The NGO has contended that while the Indian Railways, which has an independent water supply system all over the country, is able to keep trains running by meeting the requirement of water for washing and cleaning of trains, tracks and platforms, it is “failing to supply safe and wholesome drinking water to millions of railway passengers and its staff who live in the railway colonies”.
It alleged that Indian Railways has “continued to neglect the quality of water supply for so many years” as records which have come to light recently show that water quality has been very unsatisfactory for the past several years.
The plea alleges “the water treatment infrastructure for disinfection of water by chlorination has almost completely collapsed and level of contamination in the entire supply network from the source to the top is alarming.”