The National Green Tribunal has slammed the Uttar Pradesh government over its delay in reporting on encroachments of water bodies, including ponds and wetlands, in Ghaziabad and other parts of the state. Taking strong exception to the non-compliance of its order and seeking repeated adjournments, a bench of Justice Jawad Rahim summoned its Principal Secretary for Urban Development to appear before it on May 25. Rapping the UP government, the green panel said it could have taken a "serious view" of the matter but to enable the state and its officers to comply with the order, it had only issued show cause notice and granted them time to execute the order. "It is regrettable that on each date of hearing, the case was posted for reporting compliance, adjournment was sought on one pretext or the other including a reason, that there is change of guard in Law Department and new incumbents have not taken charge.
Even this request was acceded and we gave time. As of now, nothing has been done," the bench, also comprising Expert Member Nagin Nanda, said. Advocate Abhishek Yadav, appearing for UP, said the state government has not appointed "new Advocate General or Additional Advocate General or any senior counsel" in this case and sought more time. The bench, which stopped short of summoning the UP Chief Secretary, asked the Principal Secretary to be present on the next date of hearing and file an explanation for non- compliance of the order. The NGT was hearing a plea filed by journalist Sushil Raghav who had sought execution of a 2014 NGT order directing UP government to remove the encroachments from the waterbodies within six months and file status report every month. The plea had contended that the Chief Secretary had not filed a status report on encroachments on water bodies in terms of the directions passed in December 2014.
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