National Green Tribunal has taken the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to task for acute air and water pollution in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts where coal mines and thermal plants are operating, asking whether the people there have the right to live.
The green panel slammed the state governments after a committee set up by it to inspect these areas submitted that heavy industrial activities in the region were a major source of pollution in the area and causing immense impact on the health of the people living there.
It asked the two governments to inform by the next date the steps they proposed to take to tackle the problem.
"This comprehensive report shows very serious levels of pollution in the area in question. Don't the people of that area have a right to live? You can't do this to the people. There is no monitoring of emissions at all. Much efforts are required to tackle with environment hazards that could be drastic to human health," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The Tribunal had last year constituted a core committee to monitor the potential hazards of industrial development in Singrauli area and five sub-committees for quantification of industrial pollution and impact assessment of water, air, soil and health in and around Singrauli.
The committee informed the bench that ground water in the villages near Singrauli was contaminated with high fluoride and mercury concentration.
"The level of mercury concentration in ground water was found to be exceeding the limit of 0.001 mg/litre in the samples collected from Kirwani, Parasi, Harrahwa, Naktu, Sirsoti, Chilkadand, Parsavar-raja, Govindpur, Kusmaha, Khairahi, Jayant Colony, Jaitpur, MPCC colony, and Dibulganj villages," the report said.
The green panel, after perusing the findings of the committee, has directed the state governments to hold a meeting to find a the solution to the issue.
"Let the state governments and the respective Boards hold a meeting in the meanwhile and inform us on the next date of hearing, the steps that they propose to take for controlling air and water pollution apart from health hazard to the public," the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea by advocate Ashwani Dubey opposing power projects in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts alleging that serious ailments were being caused due to pollution from coal mining and emissions from thermal power stations.