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National Green Tribunal Raps Ganga Mission For Failure To File Compliance

The NGT had directed the NMCG to file a detailed compliance report on steps taken by the Centre and state governments to clean the stretch between Gomukh and Unnao

National Green Tribunal
  • The NGT criticised NMCG for not complying with its orders
  • The Tribunal also asked tannery industries to file a report on compliance
  • NGT also reiterated to its earlier order of banning mechanical mining

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal today rapped the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for not filing a compliance report on the steps taken by the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to clean the river Ganga in the stretch between Gomukh and Unnao.  A bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim said that despite its April 3 order to file an affidavit stating measures taken by various authorities, the NMCG has not complied with its direction.

“We had asked you to file an additional document on April 3 about steps taken by various authorities including setting up of treatment plants. What did you do in this time. Why have you not complied with our order?  We are not bothered about your meetings and impleadment. We are bothered about our order of compliance. We want compliance,” the bench observed and directed NMCG to file the report by May 23.

The green panel also directed tannery industries to file a report about the compliance of its directions and said it would deal with the cleaning of stretch from Unnao to Uttar Pradesh Border on May 23, the next date of hearing. It also summoned records from the Eastern Bench of NGT of a similar case dealing with Ganga rejuvenation in the stretch from Bihar to Bengal. On April 3, the NGT had directed NMCG to file additional statement with regard to the claims made by the Central Pollution Control Board and UP Pollution Control Board. The UP Jal Nigam had earlier told the NGT that it has filed preparation of detailed project report in Kasganj, Bareilly, Kannauj and Rampur.

The green panel, in a detailed judgement, had passed a slew of directions to rejuvenate Ganga, declaring as ‘No Development Zone’ an area of 100 metres from the edge of the river between Haridwar and Unnao and prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 metres from the river. The tribunal had said the government has spent over Rs 7,000 crore in two years to clean the Ganga which still remains a “serious environmental issue”. The order, running into 543 pages, had said “till the demarcation of floodplains and identification of permissible and non-permissible activities by the state government of this judgement, we direct that 100 metres from the edge of the river would be treated as no development/construction zone between Haridwar to Unnao in UP.”

‘No-development zones’ are areas where no construction including commercial or residential buildings can come up. It also imposed a complete prohibition on disposal of municipal solid waste, e-waste or bio-medical waste on the floodplains or into the river and its tributaries. Regarding shifting of tanneries located in Jajmau cluster in Kanpur, the tribunal had sought an action plan from the leather units, failing which “the UP government shall be duty bound to close the tanneries and shift the same to Banthar, Unnao or any other developed site which it considers appropriate.”

The tribunal reiterated its earlier order of ban on mechanical mining in Ganga and said “no in-stream mechanical mining is permitted and even the mining on the floodplain should be semi-mechanical and preferably more manual.

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