NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal has said committees formed by it on the subject of compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and other issues cannot be dissolved by a state without its approval.
The green panel's observation came when it was directing the Uttar Pradesh government to pass an appropriate order rectifying an order passed by the state chief secretary dissolving state-level committees formed by NGT.
The tribunal said it had to constitute the committees on account of complaints of failure of the state machinery to remedy serious environmental damages and the committees were to assist the it to enforce the law.
"Such committee cannot be dissolved by the state without reference to the tribunal. Objections/contentions of the parties, including the State can be considered by the tribunal on their merit. The committees are meant to be for short duration till effective administrative mechanism is enforced for protection of environment and compliance of law to the satisfaction of tribunal. The state is free to apprise the tribunal about the working of the committees from time to time. Unless further continuation of the committee is found necessary, their tenure will be till December 31. The committees may give their monthly reports with a copy to the chief secretary of the state," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
It said working and continuation of committees can be reviewed by it from time to time and if situation improves or working of committees is considered unnecessary or any modification is considered necessary, it is open to any party to move before it.
"We also clarify that primary responsibility to comply with law is of the state and the committees are to monitor the situation and report to this tribunal independently and are not a substitute for the state authorities. The state is free to constitute its own committee for its assistance but the committees constituted by the tribunal are to report to the tribunal without any interference by the state," it said.
The tribunal said the chief secretary may give any response to such reports for consideration of this tribunal and the committees may function strictly within the scope of task assigned to them.
"Visit to any establishment or site, may be undertaken either by the Chairperson of the committee with other concerned officers or report may be sought through any available official channel," it said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Atul Singh Chauhan seeking action against illegal sand mining in the river bed of Yamuna in Allahabad.
It said that unscientific mining was adversely affecting the river ecology and bio-diversity.
"In-stream mining and mining up to the depth of 4 to 6 metres by using machines was in violation of law. As against 125 trucks which were allowed per day, actually 400-500 trucks were moving per day. 12 to 20 cubic metres of sand was being loaded against permission of 6 cubic metres which is also in violation of order of this tribunal," the plea said said.