SC concerned over poor monsoon, price rise

Centre told to submit report on steps taken to tackle crisis


A bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and A K Ganguly said: “We are concerned over the scanty rainfall in most parts of the country. The prices of essential commodities have gone up.

“A terrible situation has arisen due to the failure of monsoon in the country. The prices of common man’s food like dal are going up. Work should be done in the spirit of patriotic duty. Even the prices of vegetables are high.”

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate M K Balakrishnan, the apex court asked the Centre to file the report by October 20, mentioning the short-term measures taken by the government to tide over the crisis.

However, the bench appreciated a report filed by the government explaining the long-term measures “to address the problem of water scarcity through scientific research on a war-footing” in two years.

“The solution to drinking water problem is to provide quality potable water to everybody,’’ the court observed.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium submitted that the government would be filing a status report on water management before the court every six months. “T Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, is an expert on water management, and he has a vast experience,’’ he said.

“For achieving the objectives (of ridding the country of the problem of water shortage), a technology mission, ‘Winning, Augmentation and Renovation for Water’ (WAR for Water), has been formulated,” the government said in its affidavit filed in the apex court regarding its compliance with the court’s April 28 order. “The Supreme Court on April 28, this year, had passed a detailed order, whereby the Central government was directed to form a technical expert committee under the chairmanship of Ramasami on the problem of water shortage,” the affidavit said. “Accordingly, in pursuance of that order, the Centre had constituted on June 29 a technical expert committee. The committee is going to have its first meeting on August 25,” the government informed the court.

The other members of the panel include Water Resources Secretary U N Panjiar, Ministry of Earth Sciences Secretary Shailesh Naik, Central Water Commission Chairman A K Bajaj and other high-ranking bureaucrats and scientists.

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