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HC expresses concern over arsenic-affected areas in city

Posted on Jan 31, 11:29AM | UNI

Kolkata, Jan 30 : Calcutta High Court today expressed "grave concern" over the civic authorities' findings that some areas of the sprawling city of Kolkata were affected by the silent killer arsenic.

The findings came to the light after Kolkata Municipal Corporation submitted a report on quality of ground water before the bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi on Wednesday afternoon.

The bench asked the civic body to file an affidavit explaining what steps it had adopted to eliminate arsenic in ground water and if it had covered all 142 wards of the city under filtered water supply scheme.

"We wonder why you are sitting idle despite the findings," the court said.

Dissatisfied with the method of testing ground water , the court directed the state pollution control board to test ground water of 50 ares-25 in Kolkata and the rest in the twin city of Howrah and submit the report on February four when the case would be taken up for hearing.

The court also directed all technical personnel of the civic body to appear before the bench in person with all records to explain its testing method, collection of samples of ground water and intensity of arsenic in the ground water on February 4.

In July, 2012, the court asked the civic body to test the quality of the city's ground water after environment activist Subhas Dutta moved a public interest litigation alleging that in his petition, Dutta said arsenic in ground water in the city was detected a few years ago and not only in the city, but arsenic was found in ground water also in different parts of the state.

Nearly, three crore of the total population across the state are adversely afftected by arsenic, he told the told court.