The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Centre and other stakeholders to clarify their stand on demarcation and encroachments on the floodplains of the Ganga from Haridwar to Unnao. The green panel asked the ministries of environment and water resources, the National Mission for Clean Ganga, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Uttar Pradesh government and others to file written submissions on the matter. The tribunal also asked them to specify their view on minimum environmental flow of the river and extraction of groundwater to restore Ganga to its original condition.
With regard to the industries located in the Ganga basin, the apex environment watchdog asked the CPCB and the UP pollution control board to strictly regulate all the units falling in the catchment area of Kali river. “Compliance should be strictly made. If there is default in compliance within the prescribed period, which normally should not exceed three to six months, the industries should be shut down,” the bench said in a recent order.
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Kali East originates from Antwada village in Muzaffarnagar district and flows through eight districts of Uttar Pradesh before its confluence with Ganga near Kannauj. The tribunal also took note of the industrial cluster at Pilkhuwa in Hapur district and directed it to put a common effluent treatment plant (CETP) in collaboration with the government agencies so that no untreated effluent goes in the drains joining Ganga or its tributaries.
“The CETP/ETP at Pilkhuwa should be shared on polluter pays principle in ratio of 50 per cent by government of India, 25 per cent by polluters and 25 per cent by State, as directed by the Supreme Court,” the bench said. The NGT had earlier asked distilleries in Meerut not to discharge effluents in nearby drains joining the Kali East river and strictly comply with environmental norms.
The green panel has divided the work of cleaning the river in different segments — Gomukh to Haridwar (Phase-I), Haridwar to Unnao (termed as segment B of Phase-I), Unnao to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.