New Delhi, May 16
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to inform it about the number of human corpses found floating in the Ganga during the Covid pandemic from 2020 till March 2022.
An NGT Bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert member Dr Afroz Ahmad also sought to know about bodies buried on the river banks in the two states before the onset of Covid till March 31 this year. It directed the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary (Health), Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, respectively, to submit factual verification reports on the issue.
“How many bodies were found floating or buried on the river banks before Covid in 2018 and 2019 and after Covid in 2020, 2021 and till March 31? “In how many cases financial support was extended for cremation, funeral or burial? What steps were taken for creating public awareness and promoting public participation for preventing disposal of bodies in the Ganga or their burial in or near the riverbed,? it asked.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) sought to know if any criminal case was registered and any prosecution was launched against any person for violation of the guidelines for the management of bodies of Covid victims or otherwise. It also asked if there was any violation of environmental norms and, if so, the details of the remedial measures taken.
The order came on a plea filed by journalist Sanjay Sharma seeking directions to ensure that proper Covid protocol is followed for disposal of Covid-impacted corpses.
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