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Clean Ganga: NGT slams authorities for inability to stop sewage discharge

The green panel had said the problem has not been tackled for the last 43 years and it has resulted in contamination of ground water affecting the health and life of the inhabitants.

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Ganga

The Green Tribunal slammed the authorities on Wednesday for failing to stop discharge of untreated sewage in Ganga and directed completion of all projects relating to sewage treatment by June 30 next year.

It said that despite directions, sewage treatment has not commenced for any of the drains except in Uttarakhand.

"There is no information on water quality of river Ganga in the stretch falling in UP, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal and information of regulation of flood plain zone. The reports from the states other than Uttarakhand do not describe the number of drains and a plan for their interception and diversion to the sewage treatment plants," the tribunal said.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also directed the Mission for Clean Ganga, Uttarakhand, UP, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal to prevent discharge of industrial effluent in Ganga and its tributaries.

It also directed demarcation of flood plains and asked the authorities to stop encroachments.

"Timely completion of all projects relating to sewage treatment be ensured i.e. by June 30, 2020 in respect of ongoing projects and by December 31, 2020 in respect of others failing which compensation has to be paid, apart from action against the erring officers. Till then, to avoid untreated sewage being discharged directly into Ganga, interim remedial measures have to be adopted and for the default after November 1, 2019 compensation has to be deposited.

"CPCB may make necessary calculation within one month from today and raise demands with the chief secretaries of the concerned states which may be complied within one month from the date of such demand failing which accountability will be of the chief secretaries personally," the bench said.

The NGT directed the UP government to take steps for remediating chromium dump at Rania and Khanchanpur Village near Kanpur and asked Central Pollution Control Boards to finalise and circulate guidelines for biodiversity parks expeditiously.

"Apart from the chief secretaries, the progress may be monitored by the monitoring committee constituted by UP, State of Uttarakhand and in such manner as may be laid down by the chief secretaries in the States of Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. Let further quarterly progress report be filed by March 31, 2020 by e-mail," the bench said.

The NGT has earlier rapped the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to check sewage discharge containing toxic chromium into Ganga at Rania and Rakhi Mandi in Kanpur and imposed a penalty of 280 crore on 22 tanneries for causing pollution.

It had also held the UP government liable and slapped a penalty of Rs 10 crore on it.

The green panel had said the problem has not been tackled for the last 43 years and it has resulted in contamination of ground water affecting the health and life of the inhabitants.

The environment compensation of Rs 280.01 crore was assessed by the state pollution control board.

The order came after perusing two reports filed by Justice Arun Tandon, former Judge of the Allahabad High Court, who had been appointed as head of a Committee to oversee the compliance of Ganga cleaning.

Justice Tandon along with the representatives of the Mission for Clean Ganga, the CPCB, state pollution control board, UP Jal Nigam and the local residents of the area, visited the sites and noticed the status of the Rania and Rakhi Mandi in Kanpur.

Taking strong note of the report, the tribunal said, "The above report is self-speaking and paints a grim picture of failure of the authorities in taking remedial measures, forcing the inhabitants to drink polluted water which is a serious hazard to the health.

First Published: Wed, December 18 2019. 17:15 IST
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