TILOK DASGUPTA Vs. STATE OF MEGHALAYA
HIGH COURT OF MEGHALAYA
STATE OF MEGHALAYA
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BISWANATH SOMADDER,J. -
(1.) On 23rd February, 2021, we had directed the State of Meghalaya to formulate a policy which should lay down a roadmap for those people residing in the State, who, till date, do not have any access to potable and arsenic free drinking water. The policy of the State was directed to be placed before this Court on or before the next date.
(2.) Today, when the matter is taken up for consideration, the learned advocate representing the State brings to the notice of this Court that in the year 2019, the Government of Meghalaya had formulated a policy which is named as the 'Meghalaya State Water Policy, 2019'. This policy is now before us. We have perused the policy. We also notice that the Jal Jeevan Mission programme of the Ministry of Jal Shakti (which is basically a programme of the Government of India), is followed by the Public Health Engineering Department (PHE), Government of Meghalaya.
(3.) In the aforesaid backdrop, our only concern now is till such time every household within the State of Meghalaya is provided easy physical access to potable and arsenic free drinking water, the State Government, through its PHE Department, should make an endeavour to give effect to the State Policy as well as the Jal Jeevan Mission programme by identifying, at first, all remote villages, small hamlets and towns within the State of Meghalaya, where citizens face acute shortage of potable and arsenic free drinking water and especially those citizens who do not have any easy physical access to the same. The PHE Department should prioritize accordingly for the purpose of providing easy physical access to potable and arsenic free drinking water in those areas first and also ensure that the Meghalaya State Water Policy, 2019, as well as the Jal Jeevan Mission programme of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, are effectively implemented within the timeframe as specified in the Jal Jeevan Mission programme.;
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