The National Green Tribunal on Thursday fined the Uttar Pradesh government Rs 120 crore as environmental compensation for improper management of liquid and solid waste, reported PTI.
A bench led by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel held that the state government was accountable for discharging at least 55 million litres per day of untreated sewage into drains, rivers and other water bodies in and around Gorakhpur.
The bench was hearing a petition seeking action against contamination of water bodies and groundwater because of the discharge from untreated sewage and industrial effluents in and around Gorakhpur district.
At the last hearing on March 30, the tribunal had noted serious failure on the part of the authorities in controlling water pollution, PTI reported.
On Thursday, the tribunal held that the Uttar Pradesh government was liable for discharging the water into rivers at Rs 2 crore per million litres each day, which adds up to Rs 110 crore. The government was fined another Rs 10 crore for failing to process solid waste.
“From the report filed on behalf of the state, it is not clear as to the number of industries for whom a Common Effluent Treatment Plant is planned and the water quality does not show positive results after bio-remediation work,” the bench, also comprising Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, said.
The tribunal directed the state government to deposit the amount within a month.
It also directed the government to set up a six-member joint committee for planning and exectuing remedial measures to meet the norms, preferably within six months, failing which further compensation could be levied.
“The steps will include operationalisation of CETPs [Common Effluent Treatment Plants], interception and diversion of drains to the respective Sewage Treatment Plants, maintaining floodplain zones of rivers, lakes in question and also Ramgarh Tal, preventing encroachment, ensuring plantation and desilting of the Tal and other associated activities,” it said.
The bench added that the central and state pollution control boards could jointly conduct an investigation on commissioning and utilising Common Effluent Treatment Plants as well evaluate the performance of Sewage Treatment Plants.
“An action-taken report may be filed with the registrar general of this tribunal within six months...,” it said.