New Delhi: Taking note of pollution and traffic congestion during functions at banquet halls, farmhouses and hotels, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has formed a committee to stop activities that lead to degradation of the environment. The green panel has also asked the committee to prepare an action plan in this regard within a month. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said marriage halls are violating norms by organising weddings and other functions without any permission.
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The green panel formed a joint committee with representatives of municipal corporations, the Central Ground Water Authority, the Delhi Jal Board, the Delhi Police and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee. The committee, which has to meet at least twice a month, will be headed by the Delhi government’s urban development secretary, the tribunal said.
In its first meeting, the panel has to prepare an action plan and lay down timelines for sewage disposal, groundwater extraction, rainwater harvesting, municipal solid waste management, systems for groundwater recharge. It will also have to form a plan to check air quality due to traffic congestions and noise pollution because of the use of DJ sets. The tribunal said the committee would compile data of all such places where functions, including marriages, take place. The data should be published and appropriately regulated, it said. The bench said
Regulate noise level at above places or per laid down norms. This includes regulation of DJ sets, loudspeakers and crackers etc. Compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and sewage discharge, including decentralised waste processing facilities, installation of CCTV camera, GPS system in garbage collection vans etc. Regulation of extraction of groundwater as per applicable guidelines, sealing of tube wells, including those installed for swimming pools in violation of law, need for reuse of water for flushing, plantation or gardening.
The NGT said the action plan must involve all the stakeholders, particularly students and senior citizens. The committee will have the authority to close venues flouting norms and remove every illegal structure, it said. The bench also said,
The committee will also look into allegations of whether members of the applicant are running swimming pools by illegally drawing groundwater without requisite valid sanctions and drawing of groundwater from critical or over-exploited areas, without any mechanism for groundwater harvesting and recharge. If so, remedial action must be taken forthwith.
The tribunal also appointed former Delhi High Court judge justice S P Garg to oversee the working of the committee. “The chief secretary of Delhi will provide all the requisite logistic support and assistance for the functioning of the oversight committee. Facilities, if any, already provided may also be used for this purpose,” the bench said while posting the matter for consideration of the report on March 8, 2019.
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Advocate Kush Sharma appeared for the Delhi Development Authority in the matter. The tribunal said bore wells dug by banquets and farmhouses, including that of the applicant, are required to be sealed, after ascertaining the availability of permission from the authority concerned and compliance of conditions of recharge and use of water being for domestic or drinking purpose. “If groundwater is used through tube wells for swimming pools in violation of the law, the supply of such swimming pools from the tube wells must be forthwith stopped. It is further made clear that re-use of water, after being disinfected as per norms, can be used for swimming pools and such water thereafter, may be used for flushing, by installing the double piping system or utilised for plantation or gardening,” the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Westend Green Farms Society alleging that banquets and marriage halls operating in Mahipalpur and Rajokri near Indira Gandhi International Airport were causing vehicular congestion and environmental pollution. The applicant, a society of 170 residential farmhouses at Rajokri, is aggrieved by the violation of environmental laws by commercial establishments operating as restaurants, hotels, motels or banquets, along with the National Highway No. 8 Expressway (Delhi-Jaipur), in the vicinity of the petitioner. It said the activities of the said establishments cause massive traffic congestion on account of unauthorised parking of vehicles and huge gatherings for weddings or other functions.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.