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NGT imposes Environmental Compensation of Rs 120 crores on UP

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New Delhi [India], September 15 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an environmental compensation of Rs 120 crores on the state of Uttar Pradesh allegedly for contamination of water bodies and groundwater, Ramgarh Lake, Ami, Rapti and Rohani Rivers in and around District Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.

The bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel in an order passed on September 13, 2022, said, we determine the liability of State of UP for discharge of 55 MLD sewage into rivers at Gorakhpur. As already noted, water pollution is also one of the sources of EVs. Further, for failure to process solid waste, on scale applied in other cases, compensation is to be fixed.

“We constitute a six-member joint Committee for the above purpose to be headed by ACS, UD, UP, with Regional Director, CPCB, Regional Officer, MoEFCC, Member Secretary, State PCB, a nominee of PCCF, (HoFF), UP and Municipal Corporation, Gorakhpur. The Committee may meet within one month and update the action plan for the prevention and remediation of pollution so as to achieve tangible results within six months,” the order said.

Steps will include operationalization of CETPs, interception and diversion of drains to the respective STPs, to be set up and commissioned, 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. If the industries are still non-compliant in terms of pollution norms, the State PCB may take action in accordance with the law, also said the bench.

The Tribunal was hearing a plea seeking action against contamination of water bodies and groundwater, specially Ramgarh Lake, Ami, Rapti and Rohani Rivers in and around District Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.

According to the petitioner, contaminated water results in Entero Virus (EV) which is brain fever, similar to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). Gorakhpur has a history of the death of hundreds of children at BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur though the majority of patients may come from different parts of eastern UP and Bihar outside Gorakhpur. Such disease at times proves fatal and if the patient survives patients suffer serious mental disabilities. Sources of the virus are also said to be piggeries, water birds and livestock which is further accelerated by contaminated water. However, water pollution is certainly a source of various diseases even apart from the said diseases and is thus made a punishable criminal offence under the Water Act, 1974.

It is a matter of regret that enforcement of law in this regard has been and continues to be highly inadequate, to the prejudice against public health. Remedial action required is prevention and control of industrial pollution, sewage management, removing encroachments, and enforcement of Solid Waste and Bio-Medical Waste Rules for which orders have already been passed in detail on earlier hearings, said the petitioner. (ANI)

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