Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 11, 2019)

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 11 September 2019

Access to clean drinking water

When more than a crore of the country’s population is affected by arsenic contaminated water, it is the “inalienable constitutional duty” of the central and state governments to supply clean drinking water to people, said the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on September 11, 2019.  

The tribunal was hearing a matter regarding steps taken to deal with contamination of groundwater due to arsenic and availability of clean drinking water in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Punjab and West Bengal.

The Centre should take the lead and relook at the existing plan to combat the arsenic menace, said the NGT. The tribunal ordered that states should consider viable options for immediate supply of drinking water and the central government must monitor it. Also, a compliance report must be filed by the secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti.

No rainwater harvesting systems in Delhi schools, colleges

The NGT on September 11, 2019 disposed of applications filed by schools and colleges in Delhi seeking waiver of environmental compensation for their failure to install rainwater harvesting systems (RWH).

The tribunal had, on November 16, 2017, asked all schools and colleges to install RWH systems within two months. If they didn’t, according to the order, they would have had to pay Rs 5 lakh in compensation.

Committee to look into groundwater

Following a plea for remedial action against falling groundwater levels in the country, the NGT on September 11, 2019 directed that a committee be formed to frame steps to preventing this depletion. The panel must also come up with a robust monitoring mechanism to ensure that no ground water is extracted illegally, added the tribunal.

The committee was asked to also look into the functioning of Central Ground Water Authority. The report of the CPCB recommending water intensive industries to be allowed even in semi-critical and critical area without any further safeguards should not be acted upon till further orders, said the NGT.

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