The National Green Tribunal has banned garbage disposal within 500 metres of the Ganga river, reported NDTV on Thursday. Anyone who violates this directive will be fined Rs 50,000.
The country’s top green court also placed a temporary stay on construction within 100 metres of the Ganga in the stretch between Haridwar and Unnao till the time the government demarcates floodplains in the area. Once the floodplain demarcation is done, the government will decide what should be a “no development zone” [where no construction is permitted] and “regulated development zone” [with rules for construction and other economic activity].
It directed the Uttar Pradesh government to move the tanneries in Jajmau to Unnao to other locations within six weeks.
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were directed to formulate guidelines for religious activities on the ghats of Ganga or its tributaries. The green tribunal also appointed a supervisory committee to oversee the implementation of its directives.
On July 7, the Supreme Court had stayed an order by the Uttarakhand High Court giving the Ganga and Yamuna rivers the status of living entities. The Uttarakhand High Court order had in effect granted the Ganga the same rights as those of a human being.
The Uttarakhand government had challenged the High Court ruling. The plea had questioned whether people affected by the river’s flooding could sue the state’s chief secretary and whether the state would have to bear the eventual financial burden.
Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this story reported that the National Green Tribunal had put a stay on construction within 100 metres of the Ganga in the stretch between Haridwar and Unnao without adding the caveat that this stay was a temporary one, limited till the time the government demarcated the floodplains in the area.