The NGT today formed a committee headed by a former judge and asked it to submit an action plan to ensure compliance of its directions in dealing with air and water pollution in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
The National Green Tribunal today formed a committee headed by a former judge and asked it to submit an action plan to ensure compliance of its directions in dealing with air and water pollution in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh respectively. The NGT warned industries in the two districts they would be closed immediately if they fail to comply with norms to check pollution.
A bench of NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the committee would comprise chief secretaries of both the states, member secretaries of state pollution control boards and district magistrates. It asked the committee to email its action plan to the tribunal and posted the matter for hearing on February 15 next year. The order came on a plea filed by advocate Ashwani Dubey, who had claimed that despite a December 6, 2017 NGT order, neither the industries, nor the authorities have taken steps to improve the environment in the areas and people were made to suffer due to pollution.
The tribunal had asked Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments to install air quality monitoring systems in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts and ordered installation of reverse osmosis (RO) water purification plants. It had last year formed two supervisory committees in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, comprising secretary of the environment department of the respective states, member secretaries of state pollution control boards, district magistrates and others, who were asked to submit a monthly report on the pollution in the areas. Dubey filed the plea seeking execution of its December 6 order, saying although the committee has been formed, it has not taken any step to restore the environment of the areas. He has also sought imposition of penalty on the respondents for acting in “gross violation” of NGT orders.
“Singrauli area is a critically polluted zone… It is necessary to bring to the attention of this tribunal that despite its orders, neither the polluters have taken any effective action, nor the committee formed by it has taken any action for default against the polluters. “The newspaper items and photographs clearly show that nothing has happened pursuant to the directions of this tribunal and the people are made to suffer because of the pollution generated by industries,” the plea claimed. The NGT’s previous order had come when it had disposed a plea filed by Dubey opposing power projects in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts on grounds that they were causing air and water pollution.
The lawyer had also opposed grant of sanction for any new project or expansion of existing units till an action plan for improving environment is implemented. Earlier, a core committee set up by the NGT to inspect areas in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts, where coal mines and thermal plants are operating, had submitted an interim report on the environment and the health of the people. It had submitted that heavy industrial activities in the region were a major source of pollution and the ground water in the villages near Singrauli was contaminated with high fluoride and mercury concentration. In 2015, the tribunal had constituted a core committee for monitoring of potential hazards of industrial development in Singrauli area and five sub committees for quantification of industrial pollution and impact assessment of water, air, soil and health in and around Singrauli.