New Delhi, May 30 (PTI) A plea seeking release of adequate water from the Sardar Sarovar dam to the downstream of Narmada river has led the National Green Tribunal to seek response from the Environment Ministry, Gujarat government and others. Also Read - Coronavirus: Gujarat Extends Night Curfew in 4 Cities For 15 Days More, No Relaxation For Now

The plea claimed that drying up of river bed is causing immense damage to environment, agriculture and local industries. Also Read - No Sashtang Pranam, Only Namaste: This How You Will Now Offer Prayers in Gujarat Temples

A bench headed by acting Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Water Resources, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, Narmada Control Authority, Gujarat government, state pollution control board and others. Also Read - Former Gujarat CM Madhavsinh Solanki Dies at 94

“Issue notice to the respondents,” the bench said while seeking their replies by July 30.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Narmada Pradushan Nivaran Samiti and the Bharuch Citizen Council seeking directions to make urgent provision for the release of 1500 cusec from Sardar Sarovar dam for downstream purpose on a daily basis.

The petitioners claimed that the river has been reduced to a small stream as only 600 cusec water is being released from the dam.

The plea, filed through advocate Shilpa Chohan, has also sought an independent assessment by expert committee of the flow required in the Narmada river in different seasons.

The petition also referred to a letter written by Narmada and Water Resources, Water Supply and Kalpsar Department which had said that downstream water requirements was not sufficient and immediate intervention was needed.

“Consistent negligence to ensure minimum downstream flow from the Sardar Sarovar dam led to permanent and detrimental changes in the downstream hydro-ecology leading to habitat destruction, increased soil salinity in the agricultural lands, groundwater contamination and changes in the overall environment and was manifested in its worst form during the summer of 2016….

“Due to unavailability of surface water, water intensive and heavily polluting industries along the Narmada Estuary withdrew large quantities of water from bore wells aggravating water crisis in the region and accelerating rate of toxic sea water intrusion into the aquifers of the downstream area,” the plea claimed.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.