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SC flays Govt on Water Crisis

ENS and Agencies
First Published : 29 Apr 2009 01:52:00 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Observing that the Government has no right to be in office if it can’t provide water to the people, the Supreme Court on Tuesday constituted a high-powered committee for doing scientific research on a war-footing for solving the problem in the country.

A Bench comprising Justice Markandey Katju and Justice H L Dattu, in its order, said that the committee shall have the Secretary in the Union Ministry of Science & Technology as its chairman with Secretary in the Union Ministry of Water Management and Niraj Saran, chairman and CEO of Aura Inc, New Delhi, as its members.

Scientists who have specialised in the field of solving water shortage will be nominated as members by the chairman of the committee.

The panel should find out inexpensive methods for converting saline water into fresh water. The present methods like distillation, reverse osmosis are very expensive, the Bench felt.

It should also undertake a study to harness and manage monsoon rain water and flood waters. Further, it should take up research on rain water harvesting and treatment of waste water so that it may be recycled.

The committee should be given all the financial, technical and administrative help by the Central and State governments. The help and advice of foreign scientific experts and Indian scientists who have specialised in the subject may also be taken, the Bench added.

This is absolutely essential now as the whole country is reeling under acute shortage of water. The progress will be monitored by this court from time to time. Therefore, the matter will be listed on the second Tuesday of every alternate month, the Bench said.

The Bench posted the matter to July 14 saying the chairman of the committee should submit a progress report by appearing personally in the court, Justice Markandey Katju said.

The Bench was passing orders on a petition filed by M K Balakrishnan, an advocate of the apex court.

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