In a dramatic event, the Uttarakhand High Court has issued a notice to river Ganga only a month after declaring it a living entity. Interestingly, both the notices have been issued to the river by the same court. According to The Indian Express, a two-judge bench led by V K Bisht and Alok Singh responded to a PIL filed by a gram pradhan and reportedly had notices delivered to all the respondents in the case, including river Ganga. This the first time in history that a court case has been filed against a river. The report says that, Swarup Singh Pundir, who is the village head of Khadak Maf has filed the PIL.
Pundir, according to reports has challenged the government of Uttarakhand’s proposal for the creation of a garbage dump in Rishikesh as the river Ganga flew on the two sides of the land that have been marked as the sites for the garbage dump. Pundir is of the opinion that the garbage dumps would be further polluting the river Ganga with the waste materials, especially during the rainy season.
Pundir also told HT, that the construction of such garbage dumps near the river would be defeating the entire purpose of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Namami Gange project, fully funded by the central government, in an attempt to clean the river. The Uttarakhand High Court responded to the petition and is known to have sent notices to the state government, state pollution control board, Rishikesh Nagar Palika, River Ganga and Central Pollution Control Board and has asked for a reply by May 8 on the issue.
The Uttarakhand High Court had earlier this year accorded the status of “living human entities” to the Ganga and Yamuna rivers to help in their “preservation and conservation”. Bestowing human status on the sacred but highly polluted rivers would, according to the court’s order, amount to harming a human being.