Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 4, 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 05 July 2023

All govt hospitals should have environment management plan: NGT

All government hospitals in India should have an environment management plan to tackle pollution in and around the premises, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed on July 3, 2023. 

A bench consisting of judges Adarsh Kumar Goel and Sudhir Agarwal directed the constitution of a five-member joint committee to look into this matter.

The bench was hearing an application highlighting the failure of the statutory and administrative authorities in controlling air pollution in and around premier healthcare institutions.

The secretary of the Ministry of Health will head the committee housing representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Home Affairs.

The committee will be free to interact with stakeholders and obtain data on the availability of environment management plans that address sources of pollution in and around all government district hospitals and medical colleges, the tribunal said.

The joint committee should meet within a month to finalise a questionnaire to obtain specific information on pollution.

Considering the data collected, appropriate standard operating procedures should be finalised within three months and uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Health.

The committee should specify issues to be covered within and outside the boundary of the healthcare facilities to offset the adverse impact of pollution on the environment.

An action taken report on the matter has to be filed with the registrar general of the NGT by the secretary, health and commissioner of police, Delhi, within four months.

The NGT order also contained directions to be followed by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. The directions were passed after considering a joint committee report.

Prohibited and regulated activities must be identified and mentioned in the environment management plan with nodal agencies to monitor compliance and dedicated funds.

Moreover, the tribunal constituted an eight-member committee to prepare an action plan in light of the previous committee’s recommendations.

Measures for controlling traffic congestion in and around AIIMS, removing encroachments and congestion at gates, improving road conditions and managing dust and other sources of pollution should be adopted, it noted.

Ambient air quality in and around the campus should be monitored, and regulatory measures should be taken if it exceeds the stipulated parameters.

Such measures should be taken in light of a Graded Response Action Plan, prepared preferably by July 31, the order said.

Director AIIMS will be responsible for implementing measures such as plantations inside the campus, waste management, regulation of footfall of visitors and other attendants of patients, management of vehicles and parking issues, provision of shuttle service and landscaping, the order noted.

Floodplain zone of Solani to be notified

Efforts are made to ensure the floodplain zone of the river Solani, Roorkee, is notified by December 2024 in accordance with the Uttarakhand Flood Plain Zoning Act, 2012, the district magistrate of Haridwar informed the NGT on July 3.

The magistrate said this in an affidavit filed in compliance with an NGT order dated April 18. The tribunal demanded the affidavit while hearing about the alleged encroachment on the floodplain zone of the Solani.

All illegal encroachments have been removed from the floodplains of the river. A survey for installing a sewage treatment plant (STP), including measurement of the total discharge falling into the river, has already been completed.

After joint inspection, the demand for land has been raised. Works related to the preparation of the final estimate and detailed project report will follow immediately after the land availability is confirmed, the affidavit added.

Illegal mining in Baghpat and Ghaziabad

The NGT directed a joint committee to look into the allegations of illegal mining in Subhanpur village in Baghpat district as well as Nauraspur village in Ghaziabad. The tribunal issued the order on July 3 while responding to two cases of alleged illegal mining.

The committee will comprise the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and district magistrates of Baghpat and Ghaziabad.

The committees should visit the site, interact with the stakeholders and submit a factual and action-taken report within two months, the tribunal directed.

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