HC admits PIL on water scarcity

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 17 : A Division Bench High Court of Manipur, on May 14, admitted a Public Interest Litigant (PIL) filed over the water scarcity faced by the people of Ukhrul district and directed the Executive Engineer of PHED to assess the situation of drinking water facility in Ukhrul and other districts of Manipur so that a master plan can be prepared with the aim of providing clean and potable drinking water to all.
The direction was given by Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir.
The PIL was filed by the president of Tangkhul Mayar -Nagala Long and Timmiwon Rising of Shangshak village, as petitioners through their counsel, Advocate Tungrei Ngakang, against the State of Manipur through Principal Secretary, PHED, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Manipur, Chief Engineer, PHED, Executive Engineer, Ukhrul Division, Chief Medical Officer, Ukhrul District Hospital and the Union of India through the Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, as respondents.
The order mentioned that Ukhrul district is one of the environmentally beautiful districts in the State and it is known for its natural scenic beauty.
However, it appears that Ukhrul is facing severe water crisis due to indiscriminate deforestation and the people of Ukhrul town and nearby villages are suffering due to lack of drinking water, it observed, adding that the petitioners relied on a report of the Assistant Engineer, Ukhrul PHE Division and the report of the Secretary DLSA Ukhrul which were addressed to the Minister of Health and Family Welfare requesting immediate intervention for supply of running water to the District Hospital of Ukhrul  and an application by the people of Ukhrul to the Chief Engineer PHED for ensuring availability of clean drinking water in the district.
The Court admitted the PIL after considering all the factors and looking after the importance of focusing on the issue, not only for Ukhrul district but also for all other districts and directed the Executive Engineer PHED to assess the condition of drinking water facility of Ukhrul district as well as other districts of the State so as to prepare a master plan for providing clean and potable drinking water to the people.
The Court also directed the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Manipur, to inspect Ukhrul district hospital and to ensure that running water facility is provided to the said hospital. It further ordered the Secretary of Forest and Environment, Manipur to provide all necessary data about the area of forest covered presently available in the State and the steps taken up by the Department on afforestation method to improve the forest cover in hills of Manipur so as to address the impact of climate change.
Directing the Chief Engineer PHED to take real time assessment and to provide proper assistance for drinking water facilities on the basis of the letter sent to the Minister, Health and Family welfare by Secretary District Legal Services Authority Ukhrul on April  7, the  Court listed the matter for further hearing and report submission on July 16.