NEW DELHI: Demarcation of 100 meters area from the edge of Ganga as no development on part of stretch between Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and directing authorities to make polluters pay, the NGT Thursday said that the results to clean the river since launch of Ganga Action Plan in 1986 were counterproductive and unsatisfactory.
The NGT has directed that authorities to ensure that all sewage treatment plans and nearly 80 drains should be cleaned within 2 years. It also imposed a complete prohibition on disposing of any kind of waste on the floodplain or in river Ganga or its tributaries and imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation on defaulters.
“Even after spending Rs 7304.64 crores upto March, 2017, by the central government, state government and local authorities of the State of UP, the status of river Ganga has not improved in terms of quality or otherwise and it continues to be a serious environmental issue,” said the 543 page order.
The tribunal also directed to constitute a special committee consisting of representatives from centre and state authorities which shall identify and demarcate the floodplains of river Ganga.
“Till the said identification and demarcation of floodplain is completed, we direct that 100 meters from the edge of the river would be designated as no development/construction zone in from Haridwar to Unnao, Kanpur,” it said.
NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar was categorical that violators must realize the consequences of their consistent defaults and criticized that lack of coordination and cooperation between various central and state agencies caused hindrances in achieving the object of cleaning river Ganga and its tributaries.
“Causing of continuous pollution must visit them with liability to pay for the pollution caused in the past years and presently,” it observed.
The green bench said that failures of previous plans has compelled the Tribunal for not adopting existing practices for planning and execution of the projects and to look for a new way ahead, which is technically feasible, economically viable, and practically executable with tested modern technology and free from fundamental errors.
The order also called authorities for carrying out study as to the requirement for minimum environmental flow of river Ganga that is essential to maintain the health of the river, its aquatic life and biodiversity.
“We direct that no person shall be permitted to extract groundwater for industrial and commercial purposes unless it has obtained permission from ground water board,” it added.