NGT agrees early hearing on plea on unscientific disposal of bodies near Ganga river


New Delhi, Aug 11 : The National Green Tribunal has agreed to hear a plea related to the unscientific disposal of bodies on the bank of the Ganga River causing huge pollution in the river. "The matter needs urgent hearing since pollution is going on day to day basis," said the NGT bench headed by Justice Sudhir Agarwal while listing the matter for August 24. In the plea, the petitioner, a journalist, sought directions from the green court to ensure that proper Covid-19 protocol is followed for the disposal of the virus-impacted human corpses. It also sought suitable amendments in this regard on the basis of the study of an expert committee appointed by the tribunal. It further sought the authorities to devise permanent mechanisms to regulate the disposal of bodies in the rivers, and issue directions to incentivize resort to the crematorium to give effect to the fundamental right to decent burial and cremation. The plea also prayed to identify the individuals dependent on the rivers for their livelihood whose right to livelihood is impacted on account of the disposal of dead bodies in the Ganga river. The petitioner urged the government to initiate immediate corrective action and identify the areas where the corpses are buried on the river beds; and to ensure proper cremation of the bodies so buried, in light of the Report of Seven IITs by improving cremation facilities. It pointed out the press release issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), saying the Centre had directed States to prevent the dumping of dead bodies in Ganga and focus on their safe disposal and providing support for ensuring dignified cremation. The press release also referred to steps taken to prevent dumping of corpses in rivers and burying of bodies in the sand along the river, launching of suitable awareness generation program, and extending financial support for cremation. However, the applicant has claimed that the same has remained on paper without implementation on the ground. Referring to news reports regarding Covid-19-infected bodies being dumped in the river Ganga and also being buried along the river, the applicant has submitted that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over, and it is uncertain when it will resurrect - despite vaccination. The issue of throwing dead bodies in the river needs to be tackled from an environmental point of view and standing directions need to be issued and followed. Since rotting bodies may have had an impact on the health of those living along the rivers, curative steps are required to be taken for their complete health check-up and proper treatment, it prayed. /IANS


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