NGT fines TN govt ₹2 crore over de­lay in clear­ing en­croach­ments along Chen­nai rivers

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS -

The Na­tional Green Tri­bunal has slapped a penalty of ₹2 crore on the Tamil Nadu gov­ern­ment over the in­or­di­nate de­lay in re­moval of en­croach­ments along and pre­ven­tion of pol­lu­tion of the Ad­yar and the Cooum rivers in Chen­nai.

A Bench, headed by NGT Chair­per­son Jus­tice Adarsh Ku­mar Goel, slammed the State gov­ern­ment over poor mon­soon pre­pared­ness and asked its Pub­lic Works Depart­ment to de­posit the amount within 15 days with the Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board.

‘No tan­gi­ble ac­tion’

The NGT di­rected the Tamil Nadu Chief Sec­re­tary to look into the mat­ter di­rectly and en­sure that the steps are taken on an ur­gent ba­sis in the in­ter­est of the en­vi­ron­ment and the peo­ple.

“On pe­rusal of the re­ports of the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Pub­lic Works Depart­ment, Tamil Nadu, we find that it is re­plete with vague­ness and no in­stances of tan­gi­ble ac­tion taken for mit­i­ga­tion of the prob­lems hav­ing been stated. In­so­far as the work on the Buck­ing­ham Canal is con­cerned, it ap­pears to have been taken un­der the Jawa­har­lal Nehru Na­tional Ur­ban Re­newal Mis­sion Scheme and only ad­min­is­tra­tive sanc­tion for es­ti­mated amount of ₹603.67 crore ap­pears to have been ob­tained.

“That apart, we find ac­tion taken for pre-mon­soon pre­pared­ness for the years 2017 and 2018 have been placed at an es­ti­mated at the cost of ₹70 lakh and ₹80.50 lakh re­spec­tively but the works un­der­taken ap­pears only to be re­moval of float­ing ma­te­ri­als,” the bench said.

En­croach­ments

The green panel said that the re­port on re­moval of the en­croach­ments was equally dis­ap­point­ing as it states that out of to­tal 26,300 en­croach­ments taken to­gether, only 408 have been evicted leav­ing the bal­ance of 25,892 en­croach­ments still to be dealt with.

The NGT re­fused to agree with the sub­mis­sion that the de­lay in the re­moval of en­croach­ments was due to pend­ing lit­i­ga­tions and said the “an­swer is ab­so­lutely vague as no par­tic­u­lars have been fur­nished as re­gards the num­ber of the en­croach­ers who have ap­proached the courts and its present sta­tus“.

The tri­bunal’s or­der came while hear­ing a bunch of pleas re­lat­ing to pol­lu­tion of Ad­yar and Cooum rivers in Chen­nai and Buck­ing­ham Canal.

The plea al­leged that there was un­con­trolled dis­charge of ef­flu­ent from dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries and un­treated sewage di­rectly into the wa­ter, be­sides en­croach­ment on the banks of the rivers by con­struc­tion of dif­fer­ent struc­tures.

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