Decided on September 24,2019

Tangkhul Mayar-Ngala Appellant


R.S.,CJ. - (1.) Synopsis of the PIL reads as follows : "That Ukhrul District headquarter which is located on the north eastern corner of the State of Manipur is reeling under mounting water scarcity crisis owing to cute depletion of water sources at Shirui hills. The district headquarter of Ukhrul has more than 5000 households with a population of around 70,000. As per record, the daily requirement of drinking water in the Ukhrul town is 13.5 lakh litres, however intake capacity from Shirui water source is less than 4 lakh litres. Situation is such that in Ukhrul town 1000 litres of water is sold at Rs. 800 currently. Presently, the water supply of the entire Ukhrul headquarter is being manned by only six linesmen. That shortage of water supply to the District headquarter has severely hampered the smooth functioning of the District Hospital, Ukhrul. Due to scarcity of water at the hospital, the patients are left with no other alternative but, to buy mineral water bottles for all their needs including their lavatory needs. That as per Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS), Guidelines for District Hospitals, services that a District Hospital is expected to provide can be grouped as Essential (Minimum Assured Services) and Desirable (which shall be aspire to achieve). In which water supply is being listed in the Minimum Assured Services. These schools children are deprived of clean drinking water which is a violation of the mandatory provision under Right to Education Act, 2009 Section 19 and 25- Hence, the present Writ Petition in public interest."
(2.) The prayer in this PIL reads as follows : "(ii) issue a writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ or direction thereby, directing the Respondents to provide adequate water to the populace of Ukhrul Town, hospitals, schools, colleges in terms of the Indian Public Health Standard (IPHS), Guidelines for District hospitals and the Schedule under Section 19 of the Right of Children to Free and compulsory Education Act, 2009. (iii) issue a writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ or direction thereby, directing the Respondents to ensure that the smooth functioning of the District Hospital, Ukhrul is not interrupted due to lack of adequate water supply. (iv) in the interim, to issue a writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ or direction thereby directing the Respondents to make an alternative temporary arrangement to tackle the water shortage by providing water tankers in view of the upcoming Shirui Lily Festival."
(3.) The case was taken up on 14.05.2019 and the following order was passed : "[1] Heard Mr. Tungrei Ngakang, learned counsel for the petitioner as well as Mr. N.Kumarjit, learned Advocate General, Manipur for the State respondents. [2] Ukhrul district in Manipur is one of the environmentally beautiful districts and it is known for its natural scenic beauty. However, it appears that Ukhrul is facing severe water crisis on account of indiscriminate deforestation and the people of Ukhrul town and nearby villages are suffering without drinking water. The petitioner relies upon a report of the Assistant Engineeer, Ukhrul PHE Division and a report of the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Ukhrul dated 7th April, 2018 addressed to the Hon'ble Minister, Health and Family Welfare, Manipur at Annexure-C/6 which is extracted as under. "GOVERNMENT OF MANIPUR OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITIES, UKHRUL, MANIPUR Ukhrul, the 7th April 2018 NO.SDLSA/UKL/18165 To The Hon'ble Minister Health and Family Welfare, Manipur Subject: Request for immediate intervention for supply of running water at District Hospital, Ukhrul Hon'ble Sir, I bring to your kind notice that I have received a report from the Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs) attached with the Legal Aid Clinic, situated inside the District Hospital, Ukhrul, stating that the District Hospital has no running water facility because of which the doctors, staffs and hospital patients are facing lots of difficulties and inconveniences. The PLVs, in their report, have further stated that they have observed that the Hospital in-patients are buying mineral water for their lavatory requirements and needs. For maintenance of the hospital in a clean and hygienic condition, availability of water is sine-qua non. Perhaps, due to the non-availability of the said necessity like water the hospital staffs and doctors may be discouraged from residing in the residential quarters of the hospital. To alleviate the plights of the staffs, doctors and especially the poor patients, some stop gap arrangement may be made by requesting from your department to the (i) The Autonomous District Council, Ukhrul (ii) The Superintendent of Police, Ukhrul District (ii) The Commanding Officer, 6h MR, Ukhrul (iv) The Commanding Officer, 27th Assam Rifles, Somsai, Ukhrul (v) The Executive Engineer, PHED, Ukhrul Division and (vi) The Commanding Officer, BRTF, Ukhrul for rendering water tanker services on rotation basis till permanent arrangement is made. I am sure your prompt intervention for arrangement of water availability will soothe the already suffering patients to a great extent. Thanking you. Enclosed: A Copy of letter from the PLVs Yours faithfully (Alek Muivah) Secretary DLSA, Ukhrul Ukhrul, the 7 April 2018" NO.SDLSA/UKL/18/167 [3] The people of Ukhrul have also applied for drinking water facilities to the Chief Engineer, PHED, Govt. of Manipur. [4] Considering all these factors, the PIL is admitted and to focus on the following issues not only for the district of Ukhrul but also of other districts as well. [i] The Executive Engineer, PHED Department is directed to assess the drinking water facility of Ukhrul district and other districts of Manipur so that a master plan can be prepared for providing clean and potable drinking water to the people. [ii] Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Govt. of Manipur will cause an inspection of the District Hospital, Ukhrul and ensure that running water facility is provided to the hospital besides hospital condition of the hospital should be addressed to provide a clean and hygienic environment in the hospital premises. [iii] Secretary, Forest and Environment Department, Govt. of Manipur will provide a data to this Court as to the area of forest covered at present available in Manipur State. [iv] Steps taken by the Forest department, Govt. of Manipur to embark on afforestation method to improve the forest cover in Manipur Hill areas so that the impact of climate change is addressed in a larger perspective. [5] In so far as Ukhrul town is concerned, the Chief Engineer, PHED, Govt. of Manipur is directed to take a real time assessment and also provide proper assistance for drinking water facilities on the basis of the report dated 4th April, 2019. [6] Learned Advocate General, Manipur takes notice. [7] List the matter on 16.7.2019." ;

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