Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Gomti river pollution
A compliance report by the chief secretary, Uttar Pradesh government, stated that the polluted river stretch of Gomti had been identified by the Central Pollution Control Board from Sitapur to village Kaithi in Ghazipur district, the confluence point in river Ganga.
The report on measures to stem pollution in river Gomti was uploaded on the National Green Tribunal (NGT) site on June 11, 2020.
The length of the polluted river stretch was 628 kilometre.
On November 28, 2019, the chief secretary after going through the compliance reports filed by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and Urban Development Department, directed the principal secretary, Urban Development Department, government of Uttar Pradesh vide letter dated November 28, 2019 to take immediate action to stem the pollution in river Gomti.
This included starting bio-remediation of untapped drains falling into river Gomti and Ramgarh Tal in Gorakhpur and fixing a timeline for the establishment of sewage treatment plants for the drains so that it could be reviewed regularly for effective and timely control of pollution.
The action plan was under implementation and was periodically monitored by the River Rejuvenation Committee, UP. Further, the water quality of the river was being monitored regularly at 25 points from Pilbhit to Varanasi.
The water quality showed improved trend: During April-June 2019, pollution level showed a downward trend at 7 of 11 monitoring points.
Riverbed mining in Jharkhand
The bench of Justice Sonam Phintso Wangdi on June 10, 2020 directed the constitution of a joint committee to look into the matter of riverbed mining in Dumka, Pakur and Deogarh districts of Jharkhand.
An application filed by M D Rizwan in the court alleged that riverbed mining was taking place in the aforementioned districts, even during the rainy season in violation of Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016.
Jharkhand in 2017 had also prohibited sand mining of riverbed during the rainy season.
Even after the passage of so many years, no concrete action was taken against the illegal activity, the court found.
Encroachment in Sarbasukha Mouza
Environmental degradation of water body in Sarbasukha Mouza in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district was taken up for consideration by the NGT on June 11.
Two reports were filed in response to the NGT order to look into the matter, which revealed water body encroachments. It found that shops were constructed without procuring necessary permission under the West Bengal Land Reforms Act, 1955. No permission was taken under the West Bengal Inland Fisheries Act, 1984 either.
The NGT then directed the district magistrate to ensure all encroachments were removed in accordance with law.
“If shops and permanent structures have been raised within such area, the same be demolished by following due process,” the order said. The entire exercise has to be completed within three months.
Plantation drive along Ami river
The divisional forest officer, Siddharthnagar, Uttar Pradesh requested the NGT for an extension of three months to complete the plantation project along the five kilometre stretch of Ami river.
This was stated in the action-taken report filed on behalf of the divisional forest officer, Siddharthnagar.
The matter related to pollution in Ami river due to sewage generated in Gorakhpur. The NGT in its September 28, 2019 order had directed for the plantation of indigenous trees on both sides of Ami river. Directions were given for the restoration of the water reservoir by district authorities.
The report stated that plantation of indigenous trees suitable to the geomorphology and climatic conditions of the area have been undertaken by the Siddharthnagar forest division. That plantation on an area of 19.80 hectares had been carried out and 21,780 saplings planted in 2019-2020.
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