The National Green Tribunal has formed a five-member committee to look into pollution caused by industrial units violating environmental norms in Jodhpur and Barmer Districts of Rajasthan.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kunar Goel said serious damage to the environment has taken place which is continuing in violation of basic right to clean environment.
It said the contention of the state government plea that it does not have staff is self-confessed failure of governance and Constitutional responsibility of the state.
“If after 56 years of enactment of Water Act, prohibiting discharge of effluent or sewage in water bodies, which is criminal offence with minimum prescribed sentence, gross violations are continuing, there is undoubted failure of the State for which lack of staff can be no excuse,” the bench said.
The green panel said meaningful enforcement of law for protection of right to clean environment, which is right to life, is the undoubted Constitutional mandate.
Pressing need is to take stock of the ground situation, prepare an action plan and execute the same, it said.
“For this purpose, we direct constitution of a five-member monitoring Committee to be headed by Justice Prakash Chandra Tatia, former Chief Justice of Jharkhand, (also former Chairperson AFT and Rajasthan Human Right Commission) stationed at Jodhpur, with representatives of CPCB, State PCB and District Magistrates, Jodhpur and Barmer,” the bench said.
The Committee will be at liberty to associate any other independent expert or institution, the NGT said adding that the Committee may meet within one month to take stock of the situation.
“The Committee may have public consultation particularly through the concerned Panchayats for the surviving grievances, including the supply of drinking water. The Committee may also identify and assess the damage to the agriculture or otherwise.
“The Committee may consider whether it is possible to augment the water flow of the Jojri River by getting water from any other source, in the manner suggested by the earlier Committee or otherwise,” the bench said.
The District Magistrates may facilitate the functioning of the Committee by providing logistics and such other facilities as may be necessary, it said.
The matter is listed for next hearing on April 20, 2021.
The tribunal said it is true that the statutory functions are to be discharged by the statutory authorities but if they fail to do so, the NGT can certainly make them accountable and set up a credible monitoring mechanism.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Gram Panchayat village Araba seeking action against pollution in Jodhpur and Barmer Districts of Rajasthan by operation of industrial units in violation of environmental norms.
Case of the applicant is that discharge of untreated toxic industrial effluent is taking place inter alia in Jojari River, which is flowing from Jodhpur towards Barmer District, carrying natural flow of water.
“This is in resulting in contamination of ground water. Industrial activities include dyeing of textiles, using chemicals. There is also discharge of untreated sewage on account of the failure of the Municipal Corporation,” the plea said.
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: PTI