Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (August 5, 2022)

Down To Earth brings you top environmental cases heard in Supreme Court, high courts and National Green Tribunal  

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 05 August 2022
Down To Earth brings you top environmental cases heard in Supreme Court, high courts & National Green Tribunal

Uttarakhand HC halts opening of 40 new tourism spots

The High Court of Uttarakhand has banned tourism activities on 30 new peaks and 10 trekking routes in the state until an environmental audit report by the pollution control board is submitted. 

The HC order said there must be complete compliance with the audit report before opening the tourism spots. The court also asked the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board to submit an audit report in four weeks. 

A bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice RC Khulbe was hearing public interest litigation regarding solid waste management laws in the state. The order came after news reports of the peaks and trailers opening for tourism came out. 

The court August 3, 2022 noted that no status report had been filed over steps taken to clear solid waste and non-biodegradable plastic waste in the state. All district magistrates had been directed by the court to file status reports July 7, 2022. 

The petitioner, Jitendra Yadav, had filed a supplementary affidavit of photographs in the court. The pictures, taken on August 2, 2022, showed a massive amount of plastic waste and other garbage collected on the roadsides. The pictures were taken near the Forest Training Institute adjacent to the Staff Colony of the Medical College, Haldwani, and the Mandi Bypass Road, Haldwani. 

The bench said the Uttarakhand government must make sufficient arrangements to deal with sanitation issues whenever large gatherings of people occur. The court also asked the petitioner to survey Haridwar and place its findings before the court regarding the impact of the Kanwar Yatra on solid waste pollution in the district.

Failure to complete STP project leading to sewage disposal into river Ganga

Sewage is being discharged into river Ganga in Haridwar due to the state irrigation department's non-completion of an irrigation canal, a public interest petition alleged in the Uttarakhand high court.

Uttarakhand irrigation department had undertaken three projects in Haridwar, none of which have been completed, claimed the petitioner, Ratanmani Dobhal. 

An irrigation canal redirecting treated water by the Jagjitpur sewage treatment plant was to be built by the department in Haridwar. Not completing the project has resulted in sewage being discharged into the river Ganga, the plea said.

The other two projects undertaken by the irrigation department are the construction of flood protection work along the left bank of river Solani and the construction of Subhash Garh Irrigation Canal. 

The petitioner said a vast amount of money had been expended on the projects so far. The Rs 2,365.39 lakh has been spent on the irrigation canal, Rs 2,260.57 lakh on the flood protection work and Rs 695.98 lakh on Subhash Garh Irrigation Canal.

Dobhal claimed gross irregularities in completing the Jagjitpur irrigation canal and flood protection work on river Solani. He also placed on record reports of enquiries conducted by authorities concerned. 

The reports highlighted the role of chief engineer level-II of the irrigation department Dinesh Chandra and the then-superintendent engineer, irrigation work circle, Haridwar, in the failure of three projects.

The court asked the Uttarakhand government to file counter affidavits on the enquiry reports, action against the officials named and steps taken to complete the projects. It also directed that alternate arrangements be made until the Jagjitpur STP is completed as discharge of sewage water into the river Ganga is a serious concern. 

Location of stone crusher conforming to mining rules 

The Uttarakhand HC August 3, 2022 directed the state government to inform it whether a stone crusher in Pauri Garhwal falls in the hill area or the plain area.

The court also ordered that the director of the geology mining department of Uttarakhand be present on the next date of hearing, August 23, 2022. It was hearing whether a stone crusher in village Bhuvdevpur Patti, Hadukhata, Kotdwar was conforming to the state's mining rules. 

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