Doodh Ganga Pollution: National Green Tribunal Slaps Rs 3 Cr Penalty On Jammu & Kashmir Administration

Doodh Ganga Pollution: National Green Tribunal Slaps Rs 3 Cr Penalty On Jammu & Kashmir Administration

Doodh Ganga Pollution - NGT Slaps Rs 3 Cr Penalty On J&K

Srinagar- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday imposed an unprecedented penalty of Rs three crore on the Jammu and Kashmir government for its “acknowledged failure” in preventing pollution in Doodh Ganga river.

The state is accordingly held liable to pay interim compensation of Rs. One crore each under all the three heads which may be deposited in a separate account to be utilized for restoration of the environment. The amount may be deposited with the District Magistrate, Budgam and spent as per plan approved by the Chief Secretary.

The order was issued by NGT’s Principal bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, chairperson, Justice Sudhir Agarwal, judicial member and Professor A. Senthil vel, expert member while hearing a case titled, Raja Muzaffar Bhat Versus Union of India & Ors. on Tuesday.

As per the principal bench, it will be open to the State to recover the amount from the polluters or erring officers in accordance with law.

''For illegal mining, the loss caused to the State in the form of value of minerals as well as the loss caused to the environment for undertaking such activity without requisite clearances needs to be recovered by the State PCB[Pollution Control Board].'' noted the three bench panel.

On 14th January, a five-member Joint Committee—that was constituted by NGT—of CPCB, J&K PCC, Deputy Commissioners, Srinagar and Budgam and the Director, Urban Local Bodies, J&K had filed its report acknowledging the violations but without any meaningful remedial action.

The violations that were found by the five member joint committee included dumping of waste on the banks of the river, discharge of untreated sewage into the river, unregulated illegal mining activities and failure to protect the embankments of the river.

''Once such serious violations have been found by the State authorities, failure to take stringent action shows apathy to the obligation of the State under the Constitution, particularly the Public Trust Doctrine of ensuring clean environment by protecting rivers and other natural assets. The attitude of indefinitely waiting for funds from outside agencies is not merely ignorance of law but failure of responsibility.'' reads the order.

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