Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding polluted river stretches in India, 09/10/2023

  • 09/10/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of News item published in “The Hindu” authored by Shri Jacob Koshy titled “More river stretches are now critically polluted: CPCB, execution application filed by Md. Imran Ahmad & Others.

The execution application has been filed by the applicants seeking execution of NGT order dated December 6, 2019 (OA No 673/2018). The applicant has referred to the minutes of the 17th meeting of the Central Monitoring Committee dated September 12, 2023 and has pointed out that so far as Assam in concerned, the state lacks treatment facility for 437.23 MLD of sewage generated and there is slow progress in implementation of three STPs at  Silsako Beel (65 MLD), Borsola Beel (62 MLD), Paschim Boragaon (60 MLD) at Guwahati and eight STPs of total capacity of 47.5 MLD at Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Tinsukia and Mangadaloi and implementation of 30 stand-alone FSTP in 30 towns. When it comes to Bihar, the number of polluted river stretches have increased from 6 to 18 with water quality of river Sirsa degrading from priority III to II.

The applicant has also referred to the minutes related to Tripura and has submitted that out of total sewage generation of 82.4 MLD, sewage treatment capacity exist only for 8.72 MLD. Thus, having a huge gap of 73.68 MLD in the sewage treatment.

The tribunal said that OA No 673/2018 was disposed of by the order dated February 22, 2021, therefore the interim order of December 6, 2019 has merged in the final order. The material pointed out by the applicants indicate that the order of the court has not been implemented by all the states.

The court directed notice to be issued to the Chief Secretaries of all the states and Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti with the direction to submit the report in respect of compliance of the NGT order, February 22, 2021. The next hearing of the case has been listed for December 13, 2023.

NGT, February 22, 2021 had directed Ministry of Jal Shakti to device an appropriate mechanism for more effective monitoring of steps for control of pollution and rejuvenation of all polluted river stretches in the country. The said mechanism can be called “National River Rejuvenation Mechanism” (NRRM) or given any other suitable name.Chief Secretaries of all states/UTs and PCBs/PCCs should strive for strict compliance of timelines for commencing new projects, completing ongoing projects and adopting interim phyto/bio-remediation measures, failing which compensation in terms of earlier orders has to be deposited with the MoJS, to be utilised in the respective states as per action plan to be approved by the National River Rejuvenation Mechanism (NRRM).