National Green Tribunal (NGT) rules the person who generates the debris as well as the one who dumps it will have to pay the fine
A five-member bench of the National Green Tribunal, headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, has said that any person found dumping debris on the Yamuna river bank would have to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the basis of "polluter pays" principle.
Up to 500 tonnes of waste debris is disposed of every month on the banks of the Yamuna near Geeta Colony in east Delhi, particularly at night. Officials say much of the city's construction and demolition debris is dumped in the river every day.
According to the NGT order, the fine will be payable by the person responsible for dumping debris, such as a truck owner, and also the person to whom the debris belongs, such as owners of properties that are demolished.
The bench observed statements put forward by the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi on cleaning the debris from the river bed have been “divergent”. Counsels of both the states though said they intend to clear the entire debris by coming August 15.
During the hearing on July 18, the NGT had rebuked the Delhi and the Uttar Pradesh government for allowing illegal dumping and construction along their main water source, and observed the lack of regulation and poor collaboration between states, despite previous orders, was a “disgusting affair”.
The tribunal had also ordered government agencies responsible for cleaning the Yamuna in Delhi to meet immediately and prepare a beautification plan or else “pay exemplary costs from the salaries of the respective officers”.
On Monday, the bench ordered entire debris should be removed from the river bank before the next date of hearing, August 27, and said a compliance report should be submitted through the secretary of the Union environment ministry, who also chairs the committee preparing the beautification plan for Yamuna banks.
“We also direct that while debris are removed and are being stacked at different points, it should be ensured that the stacking is not done on the flood plain of river Yamuna,” the bench states.
The environment ministry's counsel sought more time for the committee to finalise the Yamuna preservation and beautification plan for which the Terms of Reference are under preparation.
The bench granted liberty to the secretary of the environment ministry to constitute an expert committee in this regard to ensure a compliance report is positively submitted before the next date of hearing.
“The secretary of MoEF shall hold the meeting with respect to compliance and explain the ToR to the Expert Committee so appointed by August 27, 2013. Let the NCT of Delhi inform the general public of passing of the present Order,” the bench ordered.
The tribunal observed there is also some dispute over whether the debris lying on the western bank of the river, weighing nearly 5000 tonnes, belongs to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) or the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
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