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Thermal power plants discharging effluents in the Ganga basin have come under the radar of the National Green Tribunal which has sought a report on whether they have adequate measures in place to prevent pollution of the river.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Power to hold a meeting in this regard and file their comments along with affidavit before it.
"We direct the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Ministry of Power to hold a meeting and file their comments along with affidavit stating as to whether the thermal power plants located in the basin area of river Ganga, are discharging any effluent into the river or its tributaries.
"Further, they would also clearly state whether or not adequate measures exist within the premises of the thermal power plant to ensure that the fly ash is not generated into the environment, river Ganga or its tributaries," the bench, also comprising Justice R S Rathore, said.
The green panel said that any deficiency with regard to the thermal power plants should be pointed out in the report, especially with regard to Uttar Pradesh.
It also sought comments on the view taken by the Central Pollution Control Board that old plants should be shut down and only those with new technology be allowed to operate.
"A specific reference could also be made with regard to dumping of fly ash and what is the source of water provided to these power houses. It should also be stated whether the fly ash is being used for brick manufacturing in terms of the Notification issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change itself or not," the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by NGO Indian Council for Enviro Legal Action seeking regulation of thermal power plants located in the Ganga river basin.
The plea has also sought directions to ensure that fly ash is not released into the Ganga river or its tributaries.
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