New Delhi: Taking cognisance of a recent news report on pollution in Aurangabad’s Kham river, the National Green Tribunal has directed Chief Secretary, Maharashtra to convene a meeting of officials concerned and sought action taken report on the issue of discharging untreated sewage to the river.
A principal bench of NGT headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has taken up the matter regarding the pollution in the river which is affecting the farmers who have to use the polluted water for irrigation.
There is indiscriminate encroachment and dumping of solid waste which has reduced the seasonal river to the flow of garbage, as per the media report.
Noting that restoration of the river by preventing discharge of untreated sewage and dumping of other waste and removing encroachments from the catchment area is a necessary step for restoration of the environment, the green court held that pollution of the river is a criminal offence under the provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
Apart from access to clean potable water being a fundamental right of Article 21 of the Constitution, there are also other constitutional provisions requiring local bodies and District Administration to adopt measures for maintaining a clean environment, the NGT said in the order passed on Monday.
The report shows the failure of the administration in the discharge of their obligations under the Constitution as well as under the orders of the Supreme Court and the Tribunal, it stated.
Accordingly, the NGT sought the response of the state authorities. “If there is already an action plan prepared by the RRC Maharashtra in respect of the river in question, the same be executed accordingly. If no such plan has been prepared, the same must be now prepared within one month with appropriate timelines and budgetary support, in terms of the judgment of the Supreme Court, ” the order said.
“We direct Chief Secretary, Maharashtra to call a meeting of concerned officers including Members of the River Restoration Centre, State Pollution Control Board, and District Administration and ensure that an action taken report is filed in respect of status by June 30,” it directed.
Further hearing has been listed for July 13.