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Why Uttarakhand Govt Doesn't Want To Be Legal Parent of Entire Ganga

Uttarakhand government has written to the Centre, raising concern on officers of the state being appointed as ‘parents’ of the Ganga. The state has said that it does not have jurisdiction over pollution in other states, including West Bengal and Bihar.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:May 22, 2017, 1:33 PM IST
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Why Uttarakhand Govt Doesn't Want To Be Legal Parent of Entire Ganga
Uttarakhand government has said that it does not have jurisdiction over pollution in other states, including West Bengal and Bihar.(Representative image: Reuters)

New Delhi: Uttarakhand government has written to the Centre, raising concern on officers of the state being appointed as ‘parents’ of the Ganga. The state has said that it does not have jurisdiction over pollution in other states, including West Bengal and Bihar.

About two months ago, the High Court of Uttarakhand accorded the status of a living entity to Ganges and the Centre has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court to question how Uttarakhand would be the caretaker of the holy river. Now, even the state government wants to be impleaded as a party to the case as it feels “the High Court has erred in putting the entire onus of the river on officials of Uttarakhand.”

Uttarakhand minister and the spokesperson of the state government, Madan Kaushik, told News18 that the “expanse of the river was large and spread across several states, and thus, cannot be the sole responsibility of the officers from Uttarakhand.”

“In the high court verdict, the court appointed the Chief Secretary of the state, Advocate General of Uttarakhand, and the Director of the Namami Gange project as the legal parents of the holy river. Now, if someone pollutes the river, then he can be prosecuted by these people or if someone drowns in this river, then these officers will only be responsible. This river flows through Bihar, West Bengal and other states too. So, if someone is spoiling the river in those states or if someone loses property in other states to the river, how will the officers from Uttarakhand be responsible? Hence we have raised our concern,” said Kaushik.

The Centre has approached the apex court over the HC granting the status of a ‘living person’ to the Ganga and Yamuna, citing administrative issue and has stated that the HC has erred in holding the officials accountable for the river.

On March 20, the High Court of Uttarakhand through Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh, had passed the order acting on a PIL filed by Mohammed Salim, a resident of Haridwar, who had prayed that the holy rivers were either being encroached upon, or activities like stone crushing was taking place on the banks of the rivers, or the continuous activities which polluted the rivers.

Uttarakhand state government not only wants to be a party to the case filed by the Centre in the apex court, but also would also seek an opportunity to be heard by the court.

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