Calcutta, Feb. 14: The green bench of Calcutta High Court today asked the West Bengal Pollution Control Board to submit a report stating what steps it had taken to prevent pollution of the Ganga as stipulated in the Ganga Action Plan.
Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice J. Biswas asked the board to name the municipalities that had not taken measures to treat sewage discharge before it flowed into the river. The bench also wanted to know if the Calcutta Port Trust was polluting the riverbank.
A similar report was sought from the Central Pollution Control Board as well. Both the boards were asked to send their reports within a month.
The green bench was hearing a case filed by environment activist M.C. Mehta.
He had alleged in the Supreme Court that the governments were doing little to prevent pollution in the Ganga. In 1997, the apex court referred the matter relating to pollution of the Ganga in Bengal to the high court.
The state pollution control board has already submitted to the court four reports on cleaning of the Ganga. While carrying out an earlier order of the court, it had identified about 3,000 industries of 68 types that were releasing untreated effluents into the Ganga.
The board had earlier told the court that it was taking “action” against the industries that had not installed effluent treatment plants.
Today, when the matter came up for hearing, Subhas Dutta, an assistant appointed by the bench to help it on the matter, alleged that the western part of the river had turned into a garbage dumping ground. “The river is being further polluted by the dumping of garbage and there is no reaction from the administration,” he said.
Dutta also alleged that the port trust, being the custodian of the riverbanks, was neglecting the western side. “All the beautification is on the east,” he said.
Dutta added that the state pollution control board was doing little other than furnishing status reports before the court. He blamed the riverside hotels, too.
The counsel for the state board had earlier blamed the civic bodies for letting untreated sewage flow into the river. Today he said the board was “talking” to them to find a solution.