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Ganga Pollution in Varanasi: NGT Fines Chief Environmental Officer

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By PTI

Published : Apr 12, 2024, 7:48 PM IST

Uttar Pradesh's chief environment officer has been fined Rs 10,000 for not complying with a tribunal's order to compensate individuals and entities polluting the Ganga River in Varanasi.

Uttar Pradesh's chief environment officer has been fined Rs 10,000 for not complying with a tribunal's order to compensate individuals and entities polluting the Ganga River in Varanasi. The tribunal was hearing a case involving domestic and industrial wastewater discharge.
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New Delhi: The chief environment officer of Uttar Pradesh has been imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 for not complying with the tribunal's order directing levying environmental compensation on people and entities polluting river Ganga in Varanasi.

The NGT was hearing a case regarding the discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater into the river across various locations in the eastern Uttar Pradesh city, thronged by devotees and tourists.

Earlier on February 16 this year, the tribunal noted the report of the Municipal Corporation of Varanasi, as per which, 100 (million litres per day) MLD of sewage water was being discharged into the river.

After it observed that the water downstream of river Ganga in Varanasi "was not fit for bathing", the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said that environmental compensation (EC) would be imposed on the defaulting body or people within four weeks.

In an order passed on April 4, a bench of NGT Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava noted that the board had filed a fresh action taken report dated April 2, which reflected that the water quality of the samples taken at various places exceeded the prescribed parameters.

The bench also comprising judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A Senthil Vel said the new report was issued by the Chief Environment Officer, Ghanshyam of Circle- 6 (Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh and Basti) of the state.

It said despite the board stating that EC would be imposed within four weeks, the authority concerned failed to take action. When asked, the UPPCB submitted that the tribunal's decision was duly conveyed to the authorities concerned, the bench said.

Also, according to the report, some notices were issued in compliance with another order of the tribunal passed in 2020, the tribunal noted. It said, Hence, we are of the view that there is clear inaction on the part of the Chief Environment OfficerThere was a serious lapse on the part of the above officer in complying with the order of the tribunal which has perpetuated harm to the environment.

Instead of taking action to prosecute the officer concerned for non-compliance with the order of the tribunal, we take a lenient view and impose a cost of Rs 10,000, the tribunal added.

It directed the UPPCB to file another report indicating the remedial action and punitive action, including the recovery of EC from the defaulting person or body. The matter has been posted for further proceedings on July 16.

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