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Drinking water clean-up slap on dirty dozen

Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the authorities of 12 public places — where drinking water was found unfit for consumption — to clean their underground and overhead reservoirs.

The bench comprising Justices D.K. Seth and R.N. Sinha also directed the authorities to disinfect the water, collect samples and send them to the Public Heath Engineering department (PHE) or the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) for tests.

If the water, the court directed, was found unfit for drinking, the CMC and the state government would have to take immediate action. The CMC and PHE were also directed to conduct tests of the drinking water supplied to various public places at regular intervals.

The order was passed after the bar association of Calcutta High Court sought its intervention following a report submitted by the PHE stating that potable water collected from 12 public places, including the high court, had been found unfit for consumption.

The PHE submitted its report on the basis of an earlier green bench order of the same court after environmentalist Subhas Dutta filed a petition alleging that drinking water supplied to several public places contained bacteria.

Dutta had collected water samples from different parts of Calcutta and Howrah and got them tested at reputed laboratories. Showing the test reports, Dutta told the court that 60 per cent of drinking water in Calcutta was found impure, while in Howrah it was 70 per cent.

However, counsel for the CMC, Alok Ghosh, claimed that the water supplied by the civic body was “not bad”. “The water gets contaminated as the authorities of public places do not clean their reservoirs regularly,” he said.

The bar association lawyers have asked the court to direct the CMC to supply pure water with immediate effect.

During the hearing of the case on Friday, the registrar-general of Calcutta High Court said he had already taken steps to clean the reservoirs in the high court buildings.

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