New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh may have been adjudged as one of the best governed states, but when it comes to checking pollution or adhering to the norms for protection of environment, it is like just another state.
The imposition of fine of ₹120 crore on the UP government by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for violation of environmental norms is the case in point. The state government, which known for its bulldozer action against corruption and crime, has been penalised for its failure to manage solid waste and curb discharge of sewage water in to rivers of Gorakhpur district.
The principal bench of NGT headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted the liability of the state for discharge of 55 MLD sewage into rivers at Gorakhpur at Rs 110 crores.
“Applying the scale of compensation followed in the case of Maharashtra, compensation comes to Rs 11.40 crore which is rounded off at Rs 10 crores. Thus, total compensation is determined at Rs 120 crore,” the bench said in the recent order.
The tribunal gave this order after hearing the issue for consideration of the remedial action against contamination of water bodies and ground water, specially Ramgarh Lake, Ami, Rapti and Rohani Rivers in and around Gorakhpur.
The petitioner of the case alleged that contamination of waterbodies has resulted in outbreak of Entero Virus (EV), which leads brain fever, similar to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). Gorakhpur has history of death of hundreds of children at BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur though majority of patients may come from different parts of eastern UP and Bihar outside Gorakhpur.
The bench said, there are two issues – control of EV and control of pollution, which also to some extent is source of EV, apart from other diseases. While on the issue of control of EV, report of the government panel denotes significant fall in such cases owing to sustained efforts in the last five years.
“From the data presented by the state itself, apart from past violations, continuing violations of discharge of untreated sewage into the drains, rivers and other water bodies is more than 50 MLD. As against reported generation of sewage in Gorakhpur to the extent of about 100 MLD, treatment is not more than 45 MLD,” it further stated.
The tribunal also ordered setting of a six-member joint committee, headed by additional chief secretary, urban development, UP, with regional director, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), regional officer, ministry of environment forest & climate change (MoEF&CC), member secretary, state PCB, nominee of PCCF, (HoFF), U.P and municipal commissioner, Gorakhpur.
“The Committee may meet within one month and update action plan for prevention and remediation of pollution so as to achieve tangible results within six months,” the order said.