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Protest against tribunal order: NGT issues show cause notice to Mathura DM, raps admin


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The National Green Tribunal on Thursday slammed the Mathura administration for not taking preventive steps, and being silent spectator to "rowdyism and hooliganism" created to protest its order at Govardhan on Janamashtami festival.
A bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore issued show cause notices to the District Magistrate and SHO of Govardhan Police Station at Mathura to submit their explanation in a week as to why orders may not be passed against them.
The tribunal said that as per the information received by it, the District Magistrate is said to have ordered complete stoppage of all kinds of vehicles, including battery operated rickshaws, and all the 'bhandaras' (community kitchens) were closed.
This resulted in grave chaos and confusion amongst the pilgrims and led to grave situation where peace and tranquillity of Govardhan town was totally disturbed, the tribunal said.
It noted that due to this public started agitation and raising slogans that NGT has stopped the battery operated rickshaws, closing of Bhandaras, etc., which are seriously effecting their interest.
"It is also significant to note here that the present instance is a one where it was known to the local administration, that there is going to be disturbance in the area as the agitators are contemplating after holding a meeting on previous day to close down the markets, colleges and schools.
"But no steps whatsoever, preventive or otherwise, were taken up by the administration. The compliance of the orders/recommendations of the tribunal, to be done, was very much known to the District Magistrate. The status of the site was very much in his knowledge and a bare perusal of the orders/directions goes to show that none of them related to total stoppage of vehicles," the tribunal said.
As regards the battery operated rickshaws, there had been no order of the tribunal imposing ban on their plying, the tribunal clarified.
"In view of the aforesaid circumstances and the undisputed fact is that the order by the Tribunal was passed in presence of the District Magistrate, but the same were deliberately misconstrued by him and the battery operated rickshaws were totally stopped. As a result, instead of compliance of the order of the Tribunal the District Magistrate/Administration had created a situation through subordinates and other agency of the State, giving a negative publicity against the orders of the National Green Tribunal.
"The people with vested interest had also come out on the streets and Govardhan town was converted into a place of rowdyism and hooliganism. Even damage was caused to properties of many people. The SHO Police Station Govardhan had also remained a silent spectator to all the events which took place in those 3-4 days. Though fully aware in advance, when Panchayat decided to have the town closed on the next day, he did not take any preventive measure, including having talks with the concerning persons nor had informed the higher authorities at the district head quarters which was hardly 25 kms away," the NGT said.
The tribunal further said the SHO did not identify the miscreants involved in bandh so as to take them into custody or register cases against those who were involved in destruction.
"Therefore, the tribunal considers it just and proper that before passing appropriate orders show cause notices be issued to the DM and SHO Police Station, Govardhan to submit their explanation as to why orders may not be passed against them, in accordance to law, for being fully responsible to have passed orders knowingly, in the garb of compliance of the order of the tribunal, which were totally contrary and grossly failed to perform their duties as head of the District and In-charge of Police Station, respectively," the tribunal said.
The reply to the show cause notices should be submitted within one week from today, it said.
The tribuanl also directed Additional Collector of Mathura to constitute a team by including officials of Transport Department and Police Department to have the battery operated rickshaws of Govardhan registered, within a period of 10 days.
It also constituted a committee of Vice Chairman, Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority, Dy CEO, UP Braj Tirath Vikas Parishad, Assistant Transport Regional Officer, Inspector General of Police (Retd.), DM and SSP of Mathura.
"The said committee shall immediately hold a meeting and continue to do so as and when required, so as to plan out the route for Govardhan town and its neighbouring areas for the purpose of plying of battery operated rickshaws.
"However, we would like to note here that these battery operated rickshaws shall not be allowed to ply in any of the kacchi Parikarmas as it would cause inconvenience to pilgrims walking bare foot therein. The battery operated rickshaws going around Govardhan Parvat for the propose of taking people of old age and differently abled should be restricted with reasonable time limit, not to be allowed to park in kachi Parikarma and specific permission to be given by SDO/ Executive officer of the Nagar Panchayat, Govardhan," the tribunal said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Mathura-based Giriraj Parikrama Sanrakshan Sansthan and others seeking compliance of the NGT's August 4, 2015, directions.

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First Published: Aug 29 2019 | 6:35 PM IST

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