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Pollution in Bandi river: NGT slaps Rs 20 cr fine on Rajasthan govt for inaction

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The cracked the on the government Thursday by slapping a fine of Rs 20 crore for not performing its function properly to control in the by local textile industries.

A bench headed by Justice directed the chief to deposit the money as an interim amount within one month towards compensation to the Central Control Board, which may be recovered from the polluters.

The bench directed the and the government to get an assessment done on loss of agriculture to the farmers due to the damage caused to agriculture land by use of contaminated of the as well as to the wells in the nearby area and submit a report within one month, suggesting compensation to the farmers.

"We impose compensation of Rs 1 crore on CETP operators for discharging effluents into the and not setting up a system for reuse of treated for supplying to the industries to be deposited with the CPCB, within one month. We direct collector, to review the status of compliance of directions of and the same be reviewed by the divisional commissioner, (Jodhpur) in one month," the bench said.

The green panel gave its direction while adjudicating a plea by Kisan Paryavaran Sangharsh Samiti, which has alleged that textile units have caused in the Bandi river.

A study of surface and groundwater in Pali, conducted by the in 2008, had found almost 80 per cent of the sample unfit for drinking.

The samples showed high alkaline and chemical oxygen demand levels, indicating dangerous levels of organic pollutants. The quantity of total dissolved solids was four times higher than the standard. The case was transferred to the NGT from the in 2012.

The green panel also held that the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and (RIICO) is not maintaining the industrial area and as it was observed that the drains meant for carrying storm water are either choked or not cleaned regularly.

It also noted that there has been a practice of burning waste, which is a cause of air pollution in the area, and the board has not properly regulated the consent mechanism.

The board has also failed in ensuring compliance of installed CETPs and particularly that no waste water is to be discharged in the Bandi river, it said.

"No report has been sought or action taken by the on health issues of the villagers, scarcity of drinking water supply and damages to the agriculture because of use of contaminated water," the NGT said.

It also directed the to file a report on status of health of villagers in the area due to the use of contaminated water within one month and also report on health check-up camps organised.

"The secretary for water resources of the and central/state ground water agencies will file, through its secretary, report on the status of ground water reserves and quality in the

"The report should clearly highlight status of ground water contamination in the context of industrial and sewage discharge in the open. Report should also be filed in the context of providing potable water to the affected villagers, including setting up of water treatment plants through polluters," it said.

It directed the state to keep vigil at different check-posts within the districts of to control and prohibit discharge of unauthorised effluents through tankers into the Bandi river or at any other locations.

This action should also include prohibiting entry of any unauthorised tankers from the neighbouring districts, it said.

"We direct the (CGWB) to file a status of ground water scenario in district indicating; (a) pendency of applications for grant of permissions received from industries (b) groundwater level and its quality in We direct the Board to grant consents under the Water Act to the industries and disseminate the status on its website. No industries should be allowed to operate without having valid consent," the NGT said.

The tribunal asked the to ensure that no industrial and sewage effluent is discharged into the river (even treated) and instead, it should be utilised by the industries. The Board should take coercive action against the defaulting industries, including imposing environment compensation as well as launching prosecution, the green panel said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 31 2019. 18:50 IST