Murukkampuzha residents move Court against Railways for contaminating ground water

Murukkampuzha (MQU): The action council formed by the residents of Murukkampuzha, who have been demanding clean drinking water supply citing contamination of well water following the construction of railway platform using garbage, has filed a case at lokayukta against the departments associated with the project. A legal notice has also been sent to Southern Railway demanding that the railways should rectify all problems caused by the construction of railway platform or it should pay a compensation of Rs 5 crore to the residents whose supply of clean drinking water has been affected.

The case has been filed against 11 respondents which also includes city corporation, Suchitwa Mission in addition to SR. Bindu R, advocate of the action council, said that railways has not responded to the notice so far. The action council members are now mulling a civil suit against SR.

The case has been filed citing violation of municipal solid waste (management and handling) rules 2000, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1982.

It was in 2012, the construction of railway platform using garbage was completed at Murukkampuzha jointly by city corporation, Suchitwa Mission and railways. Later, the residents came up with sample tests showing that the well water had been contaminated.

An analysis report filed by the technical committee for studying complaints about ground water contamination in and around the railway platform stretch also revealed presence of coliform bacteria in almost all well water samples and hence it was noted unfit for direct consumption as per bureau of Indian standards. The report, however, failed to draw a solid conclusion, by putting it vaguely that based on the analysis report of well water samples it is unable to establish a direct link with the railway platform construction site on the water quality of wells.

The action council later took the issue to state human rights commission which had directed the state government to install individual water connection to each of the 24 houses where well water was found contaminated. According to the sample test conducted in government analyst’s laboratory, department of health services, the water was found unfit for domestic consumption.

Franklin Pereira, secretary of the action council and a resident said that the authorities have denied their basic necessity of safe drinking water.

“We have been living here for about 40-50 years. The water was always drawn from our wells. Now, we have to pay for drinking water and even that is not safe as per the test results. It is saddening that none of the responsible authorities care to respond,” said Franklin.