‘It’s a pity that pollutants are being discharged into the river despite court orders’

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal to periodically monitor the rejuvenation of the Ganga, while observing that it was a “pity” that pollutants were still being discharged into the river despite several directions of various courts.

A Bench headed by NGT chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “We also feel that there should be periodic joint meetings of Chief Secretaries of the States concerned to consider vital issues like pooling of human resources and sharing best practices for rejuvenation of Ganga, particularly preventing discharge of sewage and other pollutants therein directly or in its tributaries or drains connected thereto.”

Stating that a holistic approach for rejuvenation of the river was required, the Bench said, “It is a pity that even after constant monitoring by the Supreme Court for 34 years and by this Tribunal for six years, 46 years after enactment of the Water Act – making discharge of pollutants in waterbodies a criminal offence – pollutants continue to be discharged in the most holy river.”

“Pollution-free environment is the constitutional right of every citizen and constitutional obligation of States. To this extent, the States are certainly failing in discharging their constitutional obligation. This unsatisfactory state of affairs calls for rigorous planning action at the highest level monitoring for meaning enforcement of the rule of law for protection of environment and public health and also rejuvenation of Ganga river,” the bench said.

Earlier, the green panel had constituted a Central Monitoring Committee to prepare and enforce a national plan to make over 350 river stretches in the country pollution-free.

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