- 100 metres from edge of Ganga to be a no-development zone
- No dumping of waste permissible within 500 metres of the river
- Fine of Rs 50,000 to be imposed on violators
The National Green Tribunal has declared 100 metres from the edge of the river Ganga as a ‘no-development zone,’ from the stretches of Haridwar in Uttarakhand to Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. The judgment has been passed to ensure that waste disposal, one of the primary reasons for the polluted state of the river is checked. The Green court ruled that no dumping of any kind of waste would be permissible within 500 metres of the Ganga. Authorities have been instructed to impose a hefty penalty of Rs 50,000 on anyone found guilty of disposing waste. NGT also asked Uttar Pradesh authorities to shift tanneries from Jajmau in Kanpur to any appropriate place, within a period of six weeks. Industries in and around the river, related to producing chrome will be liable to pay Rs 25,000 and the ones producing industrial waste will pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
With pollution levels rising steadily in the Ganga, the river has faced several issues ranging from water depletion to a dip in its water quality. Despite several cleaning up programmes undertaken by successive Union governments, the state of the river has not improved much. In July 2017, NGT said that despite spending Rs 4,800 crore, on improving the state of the river since 1986, as informed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, not much has been achieved. Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have also been directed by NGT to formulate guidelines for religious activities on the ghats of the river, as religious gatherings have seen instances of waste disposal in the river. A supervisory committee, headed by the secretary of the Water Resources Ministry and comprising IIT professors and officials from UP government has been formed by NGT to ensure that its suggestions in the 543-pages long judgment are implemented.
Limitations will start from today and no excuses will be given. All 86 major drains in segment ‘A’ which is from Haridwar to Unnao should be cleaned and the time limit for this is 6 weeks. Pipelines should be constructed and maintained within 2 years of time, said Justice Swatanter Kumar, Chairperson, National Green Tribunal.
Clarifying the concept of zero liquid discharge and online monitoring of affluents, the NGT said that it should not be applicable to the industrial units.
The green court has divided the Ganga clean up in phases – Gomukh to Haridwar (Phase-I), Haridwar to Unnao (termed as segment B of Phase-I), Unnao to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.