A Bench headed by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has stated that in order to avoid untreated sewage being discharged directly into Ganga, remedial measures should be adopted and in case of default after 01.11.2019, compensation should be deposited for non-compliance. The NGT has directed all related authorities in states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal as well as the National Mission for Clean Ganga to ensure timely completion of all ongoing projects related to sewage treatment by June 31, 2020 and by December 31, 2020 in respect of others, failing which again compensation needs to be paid.
The Bench stated that, “Till then, to avoid untreated sewage being discharged directly into Ganga, interim remedial measures have to be adopted and for the default after 01.11.2019 compensation has to be deposited. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) may make necessary calculation within one month and raise demands with the Chief Secretaries of the concerned States which may be complied within one month from the date of such demand failing which accountability will be of the Chief Secretaries personally.”
Earlier in May, the CPCB had stated that the Ganga river water was absolutely unfit for “direct drinking” and only seven spots from where it passes can be consumed after disinfection and most of the river water in the Uttar Pradesh-West Bengal stretch was unfit for drinking and bathing.
The NGT issued directions which included:
- Preventing discharge of industrial effluents in Ganga and its tributaries/drains by ensuring installation of proper functioning of ETPs/CETPS
- Utilization of treated sewage, use of sludge as a manure and septage management.
- Demarcation of flood plain zones and preventing encroachments thereof.
- Maintenance of e-flow.
- Preventing dumping of solid and other waste in and around Ganga.
- Clearing old legacy waste dump sites.
- Preventing and regulating illegal sand mining.
- Steps for conservation of groundwater particularly with reference to critical, semi-critical or over-exploited areas.
- Restoration of water bodies.
- Monitoring and displaying of water quality.
- Taking action against polluters by way of recovering compensation for restoration of damage to the environment.
- Closing, till compliance, all establishments near river banks being run without necessary STPs and compliance of environmental norms.
- Public awareness and involvement for prevention and control of pollution of Ganga.
- Regulating activities on and around river Ganga including ghats and other establishments.
- Afforestation and setting up of biodiversity parks.
- CPCB and SPCBs may periodically undertake biological assessment of Ganga. NMCG and States concerned may depict biological diversity of Ganga in public domain.
- Any other directions covered by earlier order of this Tribunal.
The NGT also direct the CPCB to take further action to finalize and circulate guidelines for Biodiversity parks expeditiously which may be complied with by the concerned states and status of compliance included in the reports to be filed before the tribunal.
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