Centre, States asked to address water shortageAug 12th, 2009 | By editor | Category: In News, Law and Order, Nation
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday attributed the spurt in prices of essential commodities to the monsoon failure in many States, expressed concern over the plight of the common man and directed the Centre and States to take short-term measures to solve water problem on a war- footing.
A Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and A.K. Ganguly was hearing a public interest litigation petition.
The court had directed appointment of an expert committee for scientific research on tackling water shortage in the country.
During the resumed hearing on Tuesday on the petition filed by advocate M.K. Balakrishnan that sought court intervention on solving water shortage, Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam said the government-appointed Technical Experts Committee (TEC) on water solutions was conducting research on various aspects.
Mr. Justice Katju told the Solicitor-General that the TEC had done a commendable job. It could consider steps to alleviate the immediate crisis caused by scanty rainfall.
He pointed out that the “country is facing a terrible situation due to monsoon failure and rising prices, particularly of cereals and pulses used by the common man. States like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh were the worst hit by the water scarcity.”
Mr. Subramaniam assured the court that the government was fully alive to the situation and all possible steps were being taken to bring down prices.
Earlier, the Centre, in its affidavit, informed the court that besides setting up the TEC, it was launching a “WAR” mission for dealing with the water problem in various parts of the country. WAR stands for Winning (water from sustainable resources), Augmentation (of quality of water from available and accessible sources) and Renovation for recycle.
In its order, the Bench said: “The committee has done a commendable job. In the report they have gone into great detail on how to solve the water problem in the country. We request the committee to continue to work on a war-footing and try to stick to the schedule.
“The Central government and all State governments are directed to provide all help — financial, technical and administrative — to the said committee so that the great water problem in the country can be solved.”
The Bench said: “We may also mention that at present there seems to be a monsoon failure in large parts of India because of which people are suffering. We request the committee to consider measures to alleviate the immediate crisis which people in large parts of the country are facing.”
The Bench directed the matter to be listed for further hearing on October 20.