Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Report on Ganga pollution
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on September 27, 2019 directed the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh to ensure the supply of drinking water to the residents of Rania, Kanpur Dehat and Rakhi Mandi, Kanpur Nagar, where there has been a chromium dump since 1976, and has not been shifted despite repeated orders.
The tribunal was responding to two reports submitted by former Allahabad High Court judge, Arun Tandon, who was appointed as head of a committee to oversee the compliance of the NGT's order to control pollution in the Ganga.
The first report, which related to the chromium dump noted that the water collected by the committee from the handpumps / borewell of the areas was coloured and unfit for drinking.
The presence of chromium in the underground water in the Khanchandpur village was many times the permissible limit. The use of such water by humans and animals was dangerous not only to the existing residents but also for future generations, the report said.
The second report related to water pollution by tanneries at Jajmau, Kanpur. Apart from the fact that incorrect information was given to the committee appointed by the tribunal, the report also mentioned that Manoj Kumar Singh, principal secretary, urban development, Uttar Pradesh had allowed the Jal Nigam, Kanpur, to discharge effluents into the Ganga.
This was pending cleaning of the trunk sewer through an order of August 8, 2019. Such discharge was still continuing.
The NGT also asked the chief secretary to ensure that untreated sewage was not discharged into the Ganga.
It also ordered that “pending a permanent solution, at least temporary arrangement by way of phytoremediation, bio-remediation or any other technology is done to disinfect / treat water before the same is discharged into the Ganga.”
TSDF facility needs EC
The NGT on September 26, 2019 directed that the treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDF) established by M/s Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd and M/s Ramky Infrastructure Ltd in Karnataka must obtain environmental clearance (EC) within two months.
The court was hearing an application seeking closure of the TSDF on the ground of violation of norms.
The matter was transferred to the NGT by the Karnataka High Court in January 2019. It was alleged that the EC, as required, had not been taken nor post-establishment preventive and remedial steps taken to comply with the requirement of Air Act 1981, Water Act 1974 and the Environment Act 1986.
A report submitted by a joint committee on August 7, 2019, found the TSDF to be compliant except that consent to operate for a period from July 2016 was refused by the State Pollution Control Board against which an appeal was pending and the appellate authority directed maintenance of status quo. It was further stated that while the EC was taken for an incinerator, the same EC was being treated as EC for TSDF which did not meet the mandate of the rules.
The NGT also ruled that the concerned authorities should deal with the appeal, pending for three years as expeditiously as possible in accordance with law.
Encroachment on the flood plain of the Kapali
The NGT on September 26, 2019 directed the district magistrate, Bhadrak, and the Odisha State Pollution Control Board to submit a factual and action-taken report on the matter of llegal constructions on the flood plain of the Kapali river at Nalanga in Odisha's Bhadrak district. An application was filed to seek implementation of the NGT order of October 23, 2017 for removing structures within the buffer / green areas of the river.
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