NGT backs fines for dumping waste in Yamuna
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New Delhi: Anyone found polluting the Yamuna by throwing in material, including religious items, will face a fine of Rs.5,000 and the fine will rise to Rs.50,000 for those dumping construction waste into the river, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled on Tuesday.
In a judgment aimed at helping authorities formulate a plan for restoration of the Yamuna river, the tribunal bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar also ordered the creation of a high-level committee led by the special secretary in the environment ministry. It will include officials of the Delhi government, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and the governments of Haryana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
The committee will ensure environmental flow in the river and help prevent any waste from entering the river, especially industrial effluents. The tribunal asked the committee to meet within 14 days and chalk out an action plan and report to the NGT every quarter.
The NGT’s judgement came in response to a petition by environmentalist Manoj Misra, who is the convener of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, an organization that has been working to clean and revitalize the Yamuna river for nearly a decade.
The tribunal under its Maili se Nirmal Yamuna (from dirty to pure Yamuna)-Yamuna Revitalisation plan 2017” also restrained real-estate developers from carrying out any construction work on the flood plains of the river.
“The tribunal has also warned that if any slippage is found in implementation of its order then the highest official of that agency will be personally held responsible. It’s a very strong judgment – one which is complete in all aspects,” said Misra, who filed his case in February 2012.
“The judgment is also trying to ensure its implementation,” Misra added.
Lawyer Rahul Choudhary, who fought the case for Misra, said “money collected through fines would be used for restoring the river”.
Although the government has spent over Rs.6,000 crore for cleaning the Yamuna river there has been little improvement in the river’s condition.
The central government had sanctioned the Yamuna Action Plan (YAP)-I and YAP-II schemes for Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
YAP-III was introduced in Delhi with financial assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency for works like sewerage/interception and diversion of drains, sewage treatment plants, low-cost sanitation and community toilet complexes, electric and improved wood crematoria.
YAP-III projects are scheduled to be completed by December 2018.