Monday, July 15, 2024

Guwahati waterlogging: HC pulls up Assam govt for non-response to PIL


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Guwahati, June 27: The Gauhati High Court has taken exception to the Assam government’s non-response, within the stipulated time, to a public interest litigation (PIL) that raised the issue of waterlogging in Guwahati during the monsoon season.

The High Court had, on June 3, 2024, asked the state government to apprise the court within 10 days about the steps taken by the concerned departments to tackle the waterlogging problem in the city.

The state government, it may be mentioned, is being represented by the additional chief secretary, forest and environment department; principal secretary, revenue and disaster management department; chief executive officer, Assam Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), and the divisional forest officer, Kamrup division.

“As noticed on June 3, 2024, the petitioner has raised a serious issue regarding waterlogging in the city of Guwahati, which persisted for a long time. It appears that the aforesaid departments are not serious in solving the problem of waterlogging in the Guwahati city, as despite specific time granted to them, no response has been filed till date,” a division bench of Chief Justice Vijay Bishnoi and Justice Kardak Ete noted on Wednesday.

However, the court granted another opportunity to the concerned departments of the state government to file their response to the writ petition.

“In the interest of justice, we grant one more opportunity to the departments to file their response to the writ petition, subject to the condition that each department shall pay a cost of Rs 1,000 only, with the Gauhati High Court Legal Services Authority. The matter is listed now on July 19, 2024,” the court stated.

“The cost imposed, as aforesaid, shall be deposited, by the next date of hearing,” it added.

In the earlier hearing, the High Court had stated that since the issue of waterlogging in the city was directly related to the public at large, the respondents should file their response within the stipulated time, detailing the steps taken by them to deal with the problem of waterlogging in Guwahati city.

The issue was raised through the PIL by the secretary of North East Eco Development Society here.

Notably, several areas, particularly low-lying areas of Guwahati, witness artificial floods and waterlogging during the monsoon season every year.


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