Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the constitution of a joint committee to look into the dumping of debris on the banks of the Mithi river near Tapeshwar Mandir, Aarey forest, Mumbai. The activity is prohibited according to the Management of Construction and Demolition Waste Rules, 2016.
The committee will comprise one member each of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the Collector, Mumbai Suburban.
The joint committee has been directed to visit the site in question for fact finding and assess environmental damage in terms of water pollution, damage to ecology, impact on health of nearby residents and changes in hydrology.
The committee has also been asked to assess environmental damage compensation and recommend remediation measures along with timeframe, budget and responsibility.
The NGT (Western Zone Bench, Pune) on July 3, 2023, was acting on the complaint filed by the non-profit Vanashakti. The court was apprised that the authorities had been informed about the illegal dumping but no action had been taken.
The NGT directed that wetland protection in Goa be put up before it on September 5, 2023. The matter was filed before the tribunal in 2017.
The bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh noted that the prayers made in the application are to the effect that a direction be issued to Goa State Wetlands Authority (GSWA) to conduct a survey, identify wetlands and declare all lakes, reservoirs, marshes and peatland as wetland sites under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
The applicants (15 in number) had also sought order for removal of encroachments by demolishing illegal construction and development activities.
The NGT directed that notice be issued to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority; Environment Department, Maharashtra; State Environment Impact Assessment Authority and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on illegal construction and dumping of construction debris in CRZ area of Aksa beach, Mumbai.
The tribunal directed that a report be submitted on the matter and listed it for September 4, 2023.
The NGT set aside the June 15, 2022, order passed by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) dismissing the proceedings against Bina and Gurudeep Singh Bedi for carrying out illegal construction and illegal filling of eco-sensitive, low-lying khazan lands in Cavelossim village, Salcete taluka.
The case against the Bedis was filed by two residents of Cavelossim.
The tribunal directed GCZMA to hear both sides of the case and “determine the area, which according to their own admission, is found to be lying in khazan land”. An appropriate order needs to be passed with respect to the matter within a period of two months, the judgment of the NGT said.
According to ActforGoa, khazans are coastal wetlands of Goa. They were reclaimed from mangrove forests, probably in the pre-Christian era by an intricate system of dykes, sluice gates and canals and put to multiple productive uses such as agriculture, aquaculture and salt panning.
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