MUMBAI: Pune based National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued arrest warrants against 12 district collectors of Maharashtra for non-compliance of directives issued by the tribunal related to bore wells.
Last year, while disposing an environment interest litigation (EIL) regarding high percentage of fluorosis in Marathwada and Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, the NGT had issued seven-point directives to district collectors of Nanded, Beed, Latur, Washim, Parbhani, Hingoli, Jalna, Jalgaon, Chandrapur, Yavatmal Nagpur and Bandara where the dependence on bore wells as a water source is very high and the fluoride levels in groundwater is huge too. After waiting for over a year for compliance report, the tribunal took suo moto action to issue warrants against the collectors.
Pune based 'Sahyog Trust' had filed the petition in 2013 seeking to highlight the impact of high fluoride content in groundwater on social, environment and health aspects in these 12 districts. The health ministry officials, secretaries of various departments, regional offices of the state pollution board were the other respondents in the case. The NGT had suggested time-bound implementation of its seven-point directives to tackle to problem.
All these districts have a huge number of bore wells. The NGT had observed that there had been violations of the norms and rules regulating the depth of borewells as well as the distance between two such wells.
"After disposing of the petition in January 2016, the tribunal waited for almost two years and has taken a suo moto action for non-compliance of directives. Some of the respondents had filed responses but they were not satisfactory and the directives were not implemented. This must have prompted the action," said Adv Aseem Sarode, one of the petitioners.
The warrants are bailable, he added.