Need to evolve tourism policy to avoid Ganga river pollution: NGT


File photo of National Green Tribunal, Delhi.

File photo of National Green Tribunal, Delhi.

The NGT has said that there is a need to evolve a tourism policy for proper planning in all the areas adjacent to the river Ganga to regulate traffic and to facilitate scientific disposal of solid waste dumps.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that delay in setting up of sewage treatment plants (STPs) and sewerage networks to prevent pollution in the Ganga beyond timelines may cost the states Rs 10 lakh per month per STP.

It said that wherever the work has not commenced, it is necessary that no untreated sewage is discharged into the river Ganga.

The NGT said bioremediation or any other remediation measures may start as an interim measure positively from November 1 failing which the states — Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal — may be liable to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh per month per drain to the Central Pollution Control Board.

“This, however, is not to be taken as an excuse to delay the installation of STPs. For delay of the work, the chief secretary must identify the officers responsibly and assign specific responsibilities. Wherever there are violations, adverse entries in the ACRs must be made in respect of such identified officers,” the bench said.

“For delay in setting up of STPs and sewerage network beyond prescribed timelines, State may be liable to pay Rs. 10 lakh per month per STP and its network. It will be open to the State to recover the said amount from the erring officers/contractors,” it added.

Further with regard to the sectors where STP and sewerage network works have not yet started, the tribunal said the state has to pay environmental compensation of Rs 10 lakh per month after December 31, 2020.

The National Mission for Clean Ganga will also be equally liable for its failure to the extent of 50 per cent of the amount to be paid, it said.

The NGT directed the chief secretaries of Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal to file a quarterly progress report by November 30 through e-mail.

“The director-general, Namami Gange may file a consolidated report before the nest date by e-mail,” it said.

The tribunal was reviewing the progress of compliance of its earlier orders on the cleaning of the river Ganga.

The NGT has divided the work of cleaning the river in different segments : Gaumukh to Haridwar (Phase-I), Haridwar to Kanpur (Segment B of Phase I), Kanpur to UP border (Phase II), UP Border to Jharkhand border (Phase III) and Jharkhand border to the Bay of Bengal (Phase IV).