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Ensure that untreated water, sewage not used for crops, Bombay HC to Rlys

Ensure that untreated water, sewage not used for crops, Bombay HC to Rlys

Mumbai, Apr 30 (PTI) The Bombay High Court Tuesday directed the Railways to ensure that sewage or untreated water is not used for irrigation and cultivation of vegetables on land along railway tracks across the country.A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamdar directed the general manager of the Indian Railways to ensure that the court's direction is implemented and licences of violators are cancelled.The bench was hearing a PIL filed by a city NGO through lawyer JP Kharge.Kharge alleged that several people had been given licences by the Western and Central Railways to cultivate along the railway tracks of the Mumbai's suburban rail network. However, many of these people were using "sewage water" for irrigation and all the toxins from such water were being passed on to the vegetables grown there.Kharge told the court that chemical analysis of some vegetables grown along the tracks had found high levels of lead, arsenic, copper and other metals.These metals can have an adverse effect on human health, he said.Counsel for Western and Central Railways, advocate Suresh Kumar, told the court that while the railways had given licences to some of its Grade C and D staff to cultivate on surplus land along the railway tracks in the city, its rules did not permit the use of untreated water.The court said while the idea behind using surplus land for cultivation was good, the railways was bound to ensure that "public health" was not compromised.It, therefore, directed the authorities to ensure none of the licence holders across the country were permitted to use untreated water, or to flout other terms of the licence granted to them. PTI AYA BNM AD ZMN