Get clean water for Sukinda Valley residents, NGT orders Odisha government

Dangerous levels of chromium have been detected in water samples from area
Get clean water for Sukinda Valley residents, NGT orders Odisha government
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The East Zone Kolkata bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 9 ordered the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) to investigate the contamination of groundwater in the Sukinda Valley of Odisha’s Jajpur district and file its affidavit within the next four weeks.

The NGT also ordered the state government to provide clean water to places in the region where groundwater samples have been found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of chromium.

Judicial member B Amit Sthalekar and expert member Arun Kumar Verma are hearing this case in the Kolkata bench of NGT.

The tribunal had constituted a Joint Committee to probe the matter after Mantu Das, a local resident of Jajpur Sadar, filed a complaint. Advocate Shankar Prasad Pani is appearing on behalf of the petitioner.

The Joint Committee report dated July 4, 2024, had confirmed chromium presence in the groundwater of the Sukinda Valley. The committee included Kailasam Murgason, member secretary, Odisha Pollution Control Board and others.

After considering the report, the bench had said it was clear that chromium pollution has been detected in water samples at nine places. Apart from this, the report also recommended that further groundwater testing be done in the Sukinda Valley and surrounding areas through some competent agency to know its actual extent.

“It is shocking that members of the CGWB are also in this joint committee and they do not consider themselves as a competent agency for this investigation,” the bench noted.

It added that in view of the specific facts laid out in the report by the Joint Committee, “we believe it is the responsibility of the State Government to provide potable water to the people in the concerned areas.”

The next hearing of the case will be on August 16, 2024.

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