Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (December 12, 2023)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal  

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 13 December 2023

All affected residents of land subsidence in Nai Basti, Thathri should be rehabilitated / compensated: NGT

Jammu and Kashmir is liable to pay compensation to residents who have suffered damage due to land subsidence in Nai Basti, Thathri, even if the land in question was illegally occupied, directed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) December 11, 2023.

The tribunal observed that “occupation of the land in question and raising of construction by the affected persons, has been allowed due to inaction, inefficiency or lack of monitoring or supervision on the part of Union territories and its authorities and stakes have been allowed to be created on the land in question for the reasons attributable to State’s inaction”. 

The Principal Secretary stated that the committee headed by the Chief Secretary constituted by NGT should be allowed to take a fresh look into the matter and take appropriate decisions “founded on welfare and humanitarian ground, to the people affected for the reasons, not attributable to them” and sought two weeks’ time to do so. 

The NGT December 11 directed the matter to be re-examined and an action taken report submitted within two weeks. The matter has been listed for February 13, 2024.

The matter was taken up suo-moto and related to the damage caused to 21 structures in Doda district in Chenab valley, Jammu and Kashmir since earth had started slipping.

A Joint Committee constituted by the tribunal submitted its report, recommending rehabilitation of the residents of affected 24 houses of Nai Basti to a suitable safer location within the framework of applicable laws.

Jammu and Kashmir in its report stated that 14 cases have been identified where the structure on land, which suffered cracks or was destroyed and was catergorised as ‘Red Zone’, suffered serious or full damage. But the UT found that these people were not entitled for compensation since they were occupying land illegally. 

Illegal road construction by hotels in Naina Devi Himalayan Bird Conservation Reserve, Budh-Pangot, Nainital

NGT December 11 expressed strong disapproval towards the lackadaisical attitude shown by the members of the joint committee, which was constituted to look into the allegations of illegal road construction by hotels in Naina Devi Himalayan Bird Conservation Reserve, Budh-Pangot, Nainital, Uttarakhand.

The court directed that on December 15, the wildlife warden of Uttarakhand, member secretary, Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board, and the district magistrate, Nainital should appear before the tribunal to explain why the court's order of September 21, 2023 has not been complied with and no report has been filed. 

In the application filed under Sections 14 and 15 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, applicant, Manoj Singh had raised the grievance that some of the hotel owners, with the support of the forest department, had demolished and cut the reserve forest land located on the slanting hills in Naina Devi Himalayan Bird Conservation Reserve in Budh-Pangot area of Nainital, Uttarakhand, and constructed a road. 

It was alleged that the road construction was done in 2017. Thereafter, widening of the said road had continued till December 2022 by cutting the forest land on the sides of the road in violation of provisions of Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change March 28, 2019.

Haryana submits report on status of sewage & effluent treatment capacity

The state of Haryana is regularly submitting the monthly progress report regarding River Yamuna and Ghaggar action plans to the National Mission for Clean Ganga, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti (water resources). 

A lot of progress has been made regarding sewage and effluent treatment capacity in the state, stated the interim report filed by the environment department, Haryana, before NGT December 12, 2023.

The number of existing sewage treatment plants (STP) have increased from 156 STPs and installed treatment capacity of sewage has increased from 1,835 million litres a day to 1,965 MLD. As many as 12 more STPs of 300 MLD capacity are under construction in the state and likely to be completed by December 2024. In addition, five STPs of 410 MLD capacity are under proposal for future population.

Likewise, the number of existing CETPs have increased from 19 CETPs to 22 CETPs and installed treatment capacity has increased from 190 MLD to 215 MLD; seven CETPs of 126 MLD capacity are under proposal. A 2,282 km sewer line was proposed and 2123 km has been laid and the balance work is likely to be completed by December 2024.

Haryana has also planned to reuse treated sewage of 27 STPs of 326.5 MLD capacity in the first phase and work for the first STP considered in phase-1 likely to be completed by December 31, 2023 and work for all STPs considered in phase-1 likely to be completed by March 31, 2025.

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