The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hooghly panel in court plea

The high court-appointed Ganga Pollution Monitoring Committee has filed an affidavit, seeking an order making the Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) responsible for cleaning the waste on the river banks.

The affidavit was an “emergency measure” after the CPT and the CMC refused to clear the garbage dumped in and around the Hooghly.

“The water level of the river rises every year during the monsoon. Such is the pollution level that one can easily see solid waste flowing down the river,” said environment activist and committee member Subhas Dutta.

A couple of weeks ago, the committee had asked the CPT and the CMC to take steps to prevent pollution of the river. The CMC said the onus was on the CPT, which said that it was not responsible for clearing the garbage.

“Clearing garbage from the Hooghly banks is not our headache. It’s the job of the pollution control board. Our duty is to see that the river is navigable and we do that religiously. We had told the committee this in writing, but they did not respond. We will explain our stand in the court itself,” said CPT chairman A.K. Chanda.

“The CMC was always kept out of matters related to the river. Maintenance of the river banks falls under the jurisdiction of the CPT. Now that the CPT has declined to shoulder the responsibility, it is being shifted to us. We will explain the matter to the court when needed,” said deputy mayor Kalyan Mukherjee.

The report submitted to the court by the committee also mentions that the CPT had let out the banks of the river to 92 institutions for commercial activities.

“If they can do business on the banks of the river, they must also take the responsibility of minimising pollution of the water,” added Dutta.

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