New Delhi [India], March 29 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asked the Central Ministry of Jal Shakti to constitute a committee to look into the supply of potable drinking water to all the citizens of India.
Radhakanta Tripathy, a Supreme Court advocate and social activist in his plea before the NHRC raised the issue of fluorosis, water-borne diseases caused due to excessive fluoride in drinking water, which is not only a medical problem but a socio-economic issue.
"A person affected by it becomes weak and his earning capacity goes down. The issue of fluorosis is not confined to one part of India, but prevalent all over India," said Tripathy.
The Commission in its recently passed order termed the issue as "gross, grave and gigantic".
Looking into the significance of the issue involved, the Commission had directed the Secretary, Water Resources of Union, States and Union Territories, Secretary, Science and Technology, Government of India, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to submit their response on the subject as to what is the status of drinking water across the country.
Upon perusal of the response received from all these authorities, the Commission has observed that the present complaint is in regard to the problem of excessive fluoride in drinking water, which is not only a medical problem but also a socio-economic issue as the person affected by it becomes weak and his earning capacity goes down, where the effected person is engaged in manual work and labour.
Poverty alleviation and access to clean drinking water and sanitation remain the two significant problems the country has been facing since independence, Tripathi said and added that the majority of the citizen were devoid of any form of meaningful living conditions, with no access to safe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities.
The NHRC in its order observed, "The Commission appreciates the complainant, Radhakanta Tripathy, who filed the present case and raised the very basic and fundamental issue of availability of clean, clear, hygienic and safe drinking potable water."
The NHRC also asked the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Union of India to look into the matter and constitute an appropriate committee, involving experts from the concerned field, to eradicate this problem of water-borne diseases.
The NHRC further observed that even our ancient scriptures speak about Panch Tatva, and Jal as one of the foremost needs of every flora and fauna to sustain life.
The NHRC also took note of the fact that every citizen is entitled 'to safe, sufficient, affordable and accessible drinking water' that is adequate for individual requirements, that is, drinking, household sanitation, food preparation and hygiene.
Tripathi in the plea contended that safe drinking water is fundamental for life and health and it 'is a precondition for the realization of all human rights'.
The present matter involves providing clean and disease-free hygienic water to the general public, which happens to be the fundamental need for the bare survival of every living being and as also envisaged in the Constitution of India, Tripathy said.
Article 21 of the Constitution of India states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Article 47 said it is the duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health, Tripathy claimed. (ANI)