Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution of river through discharge of untreated sewage from the hotels/eateries at Howrah Railway Station, West Bengal, 06/09/2023
Order of the National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata) in the matter of Subhas Datta Vs State of West Bengal & Others dated 06/09/2023.
The applicant has prayed for a direction to the authorities to take immediate steps for stopping the fouling of river Ganga through discharge of untreated sewage from the hotels/eateries at Howrah Railway Station with a further prayer to remove encroachments from the banks of the river at the Howrah Railway Station and also to ensure that all drains discharging waste from these hotels/eateries are connected to the nearest Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) near the Howrah Railway Station.
The allegation of the Applicant in the present Original Application is that the hotels and eateries in the vicinity of Howrah Railway Station are operating without Consent to Operate from the State Pollution Control Board and are also discharging their liquid and solid waste into the river Ganga. The allegation further is that the backyard of the Railway Mail Service (RMS) shows a very dirty and unclean spectacle and the septic tanks existing there are having their direct outlet into the river Ganga.
It was also alleged that the Hooghly Nadi Jalapath Paribahan Samabay Samity (HNJPSS) is being run and managed by the State Government but it has constructed its toilets on the river bank with the waste flowing into the river. Also huge waste has been dumped on the banks of the river infront of the Samity and several types of wooden and structural wastes have been dumped by the said Samity on the river bank.
The allegation further is that the State Pollution Control Board had ordered the New Tara Maa Hindu Hotel to be closed by December 31, 2022 but on a visit by the Applicant to the Howrah Railway Station on August 9, 2023 it was found that the said hotel is still operating. It was further alleged that several illegal hotels/eateries have come up near the Howrah Railway Station adjacent to the ferry service point which has made the area so overcrowded that passengers using the ferry service are facing difficulties and the entire area is unclean.
Photographs filed in support of the averments presented a very dismal picture of the area in question, the court noted and said that substantial questions relating to the environment have been raised in the application.
The NGT, Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata directed notice to be issued to Government of West Bengal, Howrah Municipal Corporation, West Bengal Pollution Control Board and National Mission for Clean Ganga. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board, has been directed to file a detailed counter-affidavit placing on record the list of all the hotels/eateries operating in the area in question, showing how many hotels/eateries are operating with Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP)/Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) and how many are compliant of environmental norms including having Consent to Operate and Consent to Establish. The next hearing of the case will be held on October 10, 2023.