|Early Times Report|
Srinagar, Nov 29: The J&K High Court has directed authorities to ensure that the toilets which are in close proximity to water bodies are forthwith dismantled.
A division bench of the court headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal passed the orders after a report by Member-Secretary of the State Pollution Control Board.
"The human excreta flowing into the water bodies causes multidimensional problems. Faecal matter contains various types of pathogens which makes the water body unfit even for bathing.
Various types of diseases like jaundice, gastroenteritis, dysentery etc. can be caused if such water is consumed or comes in contact while swimming," the report said.
"Addition of human excreta into the water body deteriorates its water quality and causes augmentation of demand parameters, hereby reducing the level of dissolved oxygen which is essential for aquatic life, further the water body loses its aesthetic look besides enhancing organic load and nutrient concentration," the report said.
After perusal of the report, the court said: "This position cannot be permitted to continue under any circumstances or at all."
The court said that it cannot be denied that public toilets are essential for the public and that the State of J&K has declared that it is free from open defecation.
"Vigorous measures for provision of toilets both public and private are being undertaken all over the country under the Swachh Bharat Mission of the Government of India," the court said, adding, "In view of the report submitted by the State Pollution Control Board, it is directed that the concerned State Authorities shall ensure that the toilets which have been pointed out by Syed Nadeem Hussain, Regional Director, Kashmir which are in close proximity to water bodies are forthwith dismantled.
The State Authorities shall also ensure that the structures thereof are not permitted to be used in any manner for urination or defecation."
The government, the court said, shall frame an action plan as well as time line for construction of fresh public toilets at places which are not proximate to the water bodies and are permitted by experts to be located. "The action plan with time lines as well as location of all these toilets in terms of the distance from water bodies shall be placed before this Court within a period of eight weeks from today."