Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (May 14, 2020)

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
Last Updated: Thursday 14 May 2020

Drinking water supply

A number of measures had been taken to provide potable drinking water to arsenic- and fluoride-affected habitations, according to a report filed by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Union Jal Shakti Ministry on May 12, 2020.

The report was filed in pursuance of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order of January 28.   

A letter from the department dated February 12, 2020, was sent to the chief secretaries of all states with arsenic-affected habitations. It asked them to take necessary action and improve the provision of potable drinking water supply, the report said.

It also asked them to advance the timeline for total remedial measures to December 31, 2020 and to make alternate arrangements for supply of safe drinking water to inhabitants of the affected areas in the interim period.

The states were directed to submit their compliance report by March 31, 2020, according to the report.

The department also sent a letter dated February 28, 2020, to all arsenic-affected states. It asked them to prioritise provision of potable water in quality affected areas.

Community water purification plants to provide 8-10 litres per capita per day (lpcd) potable water to meet the drinking and cooking needs of every household in such affected areas were suggested as an interim measure.

The states were asked to submit their action-taken reports by April 30, 2020, for onward submission to the NGT.

The 16th Apex Committee meeting was convened on March 3, 2020, under the chairmanship of the department’s secretary to review and expedite the implementation of water quality in arsenic- and fluoride-affected habitations.

The progress in the coverage of arsenic-affected habitations was reviewed with the representatives of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal during the meeting.

Ninety eligible project proposals covering 76 arsenic-affected habitations and 275 fluoride-affected habitations, with a central share of Rs 78.92 crore, were approved under the National Water Quality Sub-Mission on Arsenic and Fluoride. The committee also reviewed the status of coverage of arsenic-affected habitations.

Bengaluru lakes

Measures to mitigate pollution in Bengaluru's Bellandur, Varthur and Agaram lakes were gathering speed according to the report submitted by the NGT-appointed monitoring committee, made available to the public on May 13, 2020.

The committee noted that 75.21 per cent progress had been achieved against the planned target of 86.38 per cent in the construction of 150 million litres per day (MLD) sewage treatment plant (STP) at the Koramangala and Challaghatta (K&C) valley.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board assured the committee that the pending work would be completed by July 30, 2020. The 5.0 MLD STP at Sarakki lake had been completed and commissioned.

The same was the case with the 10 MLD STP at Hulimavu. The upgradation of all existing STPs with facilities to remove biological nutrients at K&C Valley were expected to be completed by September 30, 2020.

An amount of Rs 75 lakh had been collected from 14 units, whose STPs were not functioning / standard norms were not met. Tenders for de-silting Bellandur and Varthur lakes had been invited.

“Even after continuous persuasion by the committee, quarries for dumping the silt from both the lakes have not been identified so far by the deputy commissioner, Bengaluru Urban / BDA,” the report said.

The silt / sludge samples at five locations in Bellandur lake and four locations in Varthur lake were collected and analysed for heavy metals by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The CPCB results indicated that the sediments in Bellandur Lake (three out of five locations) had heavy metal values above the response level and required to be disposed accordingly. At all locations in Varthur Lake, the values reported for heavy metals were lesser than the response levels.

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