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NGT slaps Rs 5L fine on educational institutions for not installing rainwater harvesting systems

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The National Green Tribunal Wednesday imposed a penalty of Rs 5 lakh each on educational institutions in the national capital for failing to install rainwater harvesting systems.
It also rapped the Delhi government for its failure to install rainwater harvesting system in schools and colleges, asking them to complete construction work the system within two weeks.
The fine was imposed as per NGT's November 16, 2017 order which had said that any institution which fails to install the rainwater harvesting system within within two months would be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh.
"In furtherance of the aforesaid judgment, those institutions in which rain water harvesting systems are not operational even today, what to say in two months as directed, we direct such institutions to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each," the NGT said.
Irked at the lackadaisical approach of the officers in complying with their duties, a bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore also imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 each on three officers of the education department.
"We impose a cost of Rs 5,000 each on Binay Bhushan, Special Director Education, J P Aggarwal, Director, Higher Education and Geeta Kumari, Deputy Director Education (Primary), South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is to be deposited with NGT Legal Aid Bar Association within a week from today," it said.
The tribunal's order came after perusing a status report from the director of education, according to which 424 schools do not have rain water harvesting system and in 505 schools, installation work is under progress.
Similarly, in respect of the colleges under Directorate of Higher Education, it has been submitted that nine institutions do not have rain water harvesting systems and in case of three institutions, they are said to be under construction, the order stated.
It further mentioned that as regards South Delhi Municipal Corporation, 106 schools do not have rain water harvesting system, as on date, which also includes 21 schools for which it is said that such system is not feasible and out of remaining (85) system in 23 schools is under construction.
"The aforesaid facts and circumstances leaves no room of doubt that the Judgment passed by the Tribunal on November 16, 2017 which had given a time frame for its compliance, has not been done till date. From the steps taken in this regard, a very sorry state of affairs is reflected from the status reports filed by Director of Education and Director of Higher Education," it said.
It directed the Directorate of Education, Directorate of Higher Education and SDMC to issue notice within a week to those institutions which have not been mentioned in the tabulation submitted to it today and give report in respect of functioning of rain water harvesting systems.
NGT directed Registrar, Delhi University, Directorate of Education, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Directorate of Education, East MCD, New Delhi Municipal Council, Delhi Cantonment Board and Ministry of Human Resource Development, with regard Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodaya Vidyalaya, to submit a list of total number of educational institutions under their jurisdiction in NCT Delhi.
It asked them to provide the number of such institutions where rain water harvesting system is not fully functional or not installed.
The list should be submitted within a period of two weeks, the tribunal said while posting the matter for hearing on February 21.
The tribunal's direction came on a plea filed by city resident Mahesh Chandra Saxena seeking implementation of the November 16, 2017 order of the NGT.
Despite the specific direction of the tribunal, they have not submitted the list of buildings, Saxena said.
He claimed that the government departments, educational institutions and residential societies have either not installed rainwater harvesting systems or have systems which are non-functional.
NGT had earlier directed schools and colleges to approach a committee constituted by it for inspecting the premises and granting permission to institutions for operating the system.
If it was not possible to install the rainwater harvesting system, the institution should have approached the committee, it had said.

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First Published: Jan 30 2019 | 6:16 PM IST

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