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NGT directs Rajasthan to pay Rs 100 cr interim compensation for pollution

The NGT also formed a 10-member joint committee to plan and oversee remedial action and said the compensation amount has to be utilised for restoration of the environment


Press Trust of India New Delhi

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The National Green Tribunal has directed Rajasthan to pay an interim compensation of Rs 100 crore for damage to the environment, including pollution of the Dravyavati river, caused allegedly by textile printing industries in the Jaipur district.
The NGT also formed a 10-member joint committee to plan and oversee remedial action and said the compensation amount has to be utilised for restoration of the environment.
The NGT was hearing two petitions claiming violation of environmental norms by the industries which adversely impacted the water quality of the river.
A bench of chairperson Justice A K Goel noted a report by a panel constituted earlier and said it presented a dismal picture of the area. The industrial siting was faulty, most industries were located in the non-conforming areas and industrial effluents were being discharged into the Dravyavati River and Chandalai and Nevta dams.
The bench, also comprising judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, said industrial operations had caused damage to the feeder canals, the river and dams, and the report did not mention the groundwater quality of Dravyavati river.
There is no assessment of damage to soil and agriculture. The Dravyavati River restoration project costing Rs 1,676.93 crores lacks a holistic approach in absence of information about water quality and the degree of treatment required by sewage treatment plants (STPs)/ common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) and the report does not mention progress of formulation and execution of action plan for Sanganer critically polluted area, the bench said.
It said the state of affairs was utterly unsatisfactory and it appeared that there was no environmental rule of law in the area".
This calls for emergent action in a mission mode at a higher level to remedy the situation and to fix accountability for such failure of the administration in collusion with law violators, the bench said.
It said higher authorities in the state have to rise to the occasion to protect the environment and public health instead of being "mute spectators as appears to be unfortunately happening".
The green panel said, We consider it appropriate to fix interim compensation of Rs 100 crore to be paid by the state of Rajasthan by way of deposit in a separate account, with the liberty to recover the amount from the violating units and erring officers.
Directing the deposit to be made within two months, the tribunal said the amount had to be utilised for restoration of the environment in the area as per a plan which may be prepared.
The tribunal fixed the compensation for the damage to the environment in terms of deterioration in water quality of Dravyavati River, Chandalai and Nevta Dams, damage to soil and agriculture by trade effluents, non-functional CETP, inadequate functional STPs, violation of Hazardous Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules and extraction of groundwater without permission.
The compensation was also fixed in terms of the estimated rough cost of remediation "on the most conservative estimate and a rough estimate of the financial capacity of around 1,000 violating units and the cost of management of sewage.
The tribunal also constituted a 10-member committee headed by the state's Chief Secretary for planning and overseeing remedial action in the interest of protection of the environment and upholding of rule of law.
The committee may meet within two weeks and prepare an action planand such action plan be executed within the shortest possible defined time frame to prevent further degradation of the environment by closing all non-compliant units and evolving mechanism for assessment and recovering compensation preferably within three months, the tribunal said.
Directing the panel to submit an interim action taken report within three months, the tribunal posted the matter for further proceedings on July 18.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Apr 19 2023 | 11:25 PM IST

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