New Delhi: A plea seeking protection and restoration of natural springs like Gaurikund in Uttarakhand today prompted the National Green Tribunal to ask the Centre, the state government and others to respond to it.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Ministry of Water Resources, Uttarakhand government, Central Ground Water Authority, National Biodiversity Authority and others while seeking their responses before April 6. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Uttarakhand resident Pratiba Naithani seeking directions for conservation of the hot springs in the state. The green panel had last year disposed a plea filed by the same petitioner and had directed the state government to look into the issues raised by her and act to protect and conserve the natural springs. "Despite the directions dated November 7, 2017 passed by this tribunal, the petitioner has learnt that respondents and more specifically the Uttarakhand government has done nothing to protect and conserve the natural springs," the plea said. Gaurikund is a pilgrimage site and the base camp for a trek to the famous Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand. It is located at an altitude of 6,502 feet above mean sea level in the Himalayas.
The plea, filed through advocate Gaurav Bansal, referred to a reply filed by the Central Ground Water Authority and said that due to 2013 catastrophe, the bathing place and other parts of the "Gaurikund Tapt Kund" (hot spring) have been completely destroyed. A team was constituted by the Central Ground Water Board to rejuvenate the hot spring.
Quoting a research paper of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, the plea alleged that the natural springs in the state were becoming extinct due to lack of attention from the government.
The plea has sought directions to formulate and implement the Watershed Management Strategy for the protection and conservation of natural springs in Uttarakhand. PTI