States & UTs

    NGT Deprecates Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board Inaction On Ganga Pollution

    Inam Ansari
    February27/ 2024
    Last Updated:


    New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has deprecated the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board for remaining a ''silent spectator'' and not taking proper action to prevent the discharge of untreated sewage into the Ganga.
    The tribunal has taken up a matter regarding pollution of the river in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It had earlier sought specific information regarding pollution from all the districts through which the river's main stream and tributaries flow.
    ''We are also surprised to see that across the state of Uttarakhand, in various local bodies, untreated sewage is being ultimately discharged in rivers but no preventive, punitive and remedial action has been taken by UKPCB (Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board) and it is staying a silent spectator, forgetting its statutory responsibility,'' a bench of Judicial Member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Expert Member A Senthil Vel said.
    ''This situation is really alarming and needs to be deprecated by all means,'' the bench added in a recent order.
    Noting a report from the authorities concerned, the tribunal said sewage is being discharged in ''pristine streams and sacred rivers''. ''An estimated sewage generation in all 13 districts (of Uttarakhand) is estimated to be 700 million litres per day (MLD) and even 50 per cent is not properly treated. The laying of sewers and connectivity of households is an unresolved issue and the influx of tourists and pilgrims during the season adds to sewage generation,'' it said.
    ''In every district and concerned local body, sewage -- whether municipal, industrial or domestic -- is being discharged in River Ganga directly or through its tributaries and, thereby, causing pollution,'' the tribunal added, noting the report. It said the installation and establishment of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) are not being done with ''due diligence, expediency and earnestness''.
    ''We also find that the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), which has been exclusively assigned with the mandate of rejuvenation of Ganga, has perhaps not gone into aspects of intricacies of sewage and solid waste management for hilly terrain,'' the tribunal said. It said that for several decades, the matter regarding the river's pollution did not improve, nor was there any endeavour by the authorities concerned to take effective action to comply with the environmental norms.
    In a 151-page order, the tribunal directed the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board to take punitive action against responsible government officers and heads of departments by initiating criminal proceedings against them.
    ''The UKPCB shall also recover Environmental Compensation (EC) for the past violation and will compute and impose environmental compensation for future violations … It shall submit a compliance report within two months,'' it said.
    The matter has been posted to April 19 for further proceedings. —PTI