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NHRC notice to TN over supply of 'unfit' river water

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to Tamil Nadu government over reports that water supplied to 1.5 lakh residents from Bhavani river in Mettupalayam was "unfit" for consumption.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the NHRC has issued the notice to the Chief Secretary of the state and sought a detailed report in the matter in six weeks.

"The residents of the area have been contracting skin diseases and also finding it difficult to stand by the odour of the river water." the Commission said in a statement today.

The NHRC has observed that the contents of the report are a matter of concern and indicative of violation of Right to Life and Health of the residents of the region.

"Potable water and sanitation are essential to realisation of basic human rights. It is the duty of the state to provide necessary infrastructure so that the human rights of the people are not violated," it said.

According to the media report, carried on January 16, Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board has reported that the water is "chemically not potable as the turbidity and iron values exceed permissible limits."

"The water is also bacteriologically unsafe due to the presence of faecal coliform, the source of which is human and animal excreta. Many industries, including the United Bleachers Limited and ITC Paper Mill are also reportedly discharging untreated water in the river," the NHRC said, quoting the report.

Reportedly, Bhavani river was flowing freely until year 2000. The problem started in the year 2001, when Erode unit of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board set up two barrages in the river at Samayapuram and Omapalayam to generate electricity, the NHRC said.

"The project is, reportedly, generating low power than expected. The state electricity board has also not obtained 'No Objection Certificate' from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board," it further said.

"The state government has reportedly sanctioned a sum of Rs 91.7 crore for an underground drainage project but presently, 10 MLD water from Bhavani river is supplied to Mettupalayam while 6-8 MLD sewage is discharged into the river," the NHRC said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, January 23 2017. 22:32 IST