The National Green Tribunal has slammed the civic authorities in Rajsthan’s Bikaner over a report on a sewage remedy plant, saying a plea of price range can’t be taken to justify the continued violation of the Water Act and the residents’ proper to a clear setting.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel stated the officer who has filed the affidavit doesn’t have the requisite information of regulation and duties of the state air pollution management board.
“In view of the binding judgment of the Supreme Court, the plea of budget cannot be taken to justify the continued violation of the Water Act and the citizens’ right to clean environment.
“In absence of some other supply of funds, funds are to be raised from the residents within the space as directed by the Supreme Court, and for failure involved erring officers are to be proceeded in opposition to,” the bench said.
The executive officer of the municipal board in Nokha had told the tribunal that the existing Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) could not be repaired and operated due to non-availability of sufficient budget.
The NGT gave one last opportunity for compliance, failing which the secretary of the departments concerned i.e. local bodies/urban development/local self department and the member secretary of the state PCB will be held personally accountable, by way of coercive measures laid down under sections 25 and 26 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT Act).
“Under part 26 of the NGT Act, violation of order of this tribunal is a prison offence punishable with imprisonment as much as three years and effective as much as Rs 10 crores. Under part 25 of the NGT Act, 2010, the order is executable on the decree of the civil court docket.
“Under section 51 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, there is provision for civil imprisonment or any other order. Any other order can include stopping of salary of the erring officers. The tribunal will accordingly take such coercive measures as found appropriate, if the failure continued,” the bench stated.
The NGT directed the member secretary of the state PCB and the secretary of the division involved to be current in individual by video conferencing with a compliance standing on September 21. The tribunal was listening to a plea filed by Rajasthan resident Bhanwar Lal Bhargava over discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluent on agriculture land in Bikaner’s Nokha village.