The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed all states and Union Territories to designate a nodal agency for restoration of water bodies, wherever there is an absence of one.
The tribunal also directed to form a central monitoring committee (CMC) comprising secretary, ministry of Jal Shakti, with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and other authorities to monitor compliance at the national level. The CMC will oversee remediation of 351 polluted river stretches and track restoration of water bodies by the states at least thrice a year. The first such monitoring may take place by March.
The direction comes during the hearing of a petition by Lt. Col. Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi regarding identification, protection and restoration of water bodies in Gurgaon. Though the case was initially about restoration of water bodies in Gurgaon, the scope of the application was extended to the entire state and then to the entire country, in the interest of environment protection.
The court further added, “Under oversight of the chief secretaries of the states/UTs, the designated nodal agency may hold its meeting not later than January 31, 2021, to take stock of the situation and plan further steps, including directions to district authorities for further course of action up to panchayat levels and to evolve further monitoring mechanism as well as grievance redressal mechanism (GRM). Submit periodical reports to the CPCB/secretary Jal Shakti, Government of India. The first such report may be furnished by February 2, 2021.”
This order comes after a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel reviewed the reports of water bodies’ status submitted by various states, which was compiled by CPCB. The order was uploaded on Sunday; however, the hearing was on Wednesday.
Earlier, in June, the NGT had directed all states and Union Territories to submit a list of their water bodies and their status report. Following which, the CPCB on October 29, submitted a consolidated report on water bodies, restoration of water bodies and status of their execution. It was observed that 4,13,911 water bodies have been identified by various states in India. The states submitted a report stating that they have already selected 1,32,080 water bodies for restoration. States added that they have already restored 3,20,903 water bodies and 40,543 are under restoration.
Meanwhile, the petitioner, welcoming the decision, said that the restoration of water bodies will save the city from getting flooded every year. “The issue of Ghata bundh also needs to be addressed at the earliest. Licences issued to projects in the Ghata submerged area should be cancelled and the place should be declared a natural conservation zone,” he said.
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: The Times of India