In a recent development, the Supreme Court has issued a significant directive to the Bihar government, instructing them to put a stop to any new construction activities along the banks of the Ganga River, particularly in the Patna region. The order, delivered by Justices Aniruddha Bose and Augustine George Masih, includes a mandate for the state to submit a sworn affidavit detailing the progress made in removing unauthorized structures. The Chief Secretary of the State is expected to file this affidavit before the court.
The directive comes in response to a petition filed by a resident of Patna, raising concerns about rampant unauthorized construction in flood-prone areas. The petitioner alleges that residential buildings and houses are being erected without the necessary permissions from relevant authorities. Furthermore, the petitioner claims that state agencies, instead of taking action against such encroachments, are allegedly facilitating them.
The bench revealed that the state government has already identified 213 unauthorized constructions in the vicinity of the Ganga River in Patna. Steps are being taken to address and remove these encroachments. The court has set the next hearing for the case on February 5th, signaling its commitment to monitoring the situation closely.
Advocate Akash Vashishth, representing the petitioner, emphasized the ecological impact, stating that the sensitive Ganga floodplain, spanning from Nauzer Ghat to Noorpur Ghat in Patna, covering an area exceeding 520 acres, has been encroached upon. The petitioner stressed the critical importance of maintaining the cleanliness of the Ganga, especially considering that the 5.5 million population of Patna relies on the river for drinking water and domestic water supply.
The petition also highlights concerns about the lack of action against unauthorized constructions and encroachments in flood-prone areas. It specifically mentions that state agencies are allegedly providing electricity connections to these unauthorized structures.
It's worth noting that a previous application by the petitioner was dismissed by the National Green Tribunal for lacking details of violations and violators. The current directive from the Supreme Court underscores the seriousness of the issue and emphasizes the need for immediate action to protect the Ganga River and its floodplain.
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