Concerned over the environmental impact of tourists and pilgrims visiting Amarkantak in MP’s Anuppur district, the NGT on Tuesday sought response from the Madhya Pradesh government on whether it would consider placing a ban on further constructions in the area to protect its ecology, among other concerns.
Issuing directions that notices be issued to the principal secretary, urban development and environment and the director, town and country planning department, the Tribunal sought their response on three points.
The first two points were concerned with the steps the government planned to take for preserving the environment and ecosystem of Amarkantak region -- the source of Narmada river -- and whether it would consider placing a ban on further construction in the area.
If constructions were permitted, the NGT wanted to know about the preventive measures the government intended to take in consultation with MP state pollution control board (MPSPCB).
The third point was about whether state government would consider getting an expert consultative committee to carry out a survey of the area for studying the Amarkantak area’s ecosystem for the preservation of its environment and for keeping it pollution-free.
On whether further construction should be permitted in Amarkantak area, NGT asked that if the constructions were frozen, could the state government identify a separate space at an alternative site for infrastructure and other development activities and facilities to the pilgrims and tourists?
“We would also direct that the collector, Anuppur, to give his input about the availability of land for developing such infrastructure facilities as alternatives to allowing constructions at Amarkantak,” the bench said in its order.
The NGT also directed MPSPCB to look into the nature of the area, provide a sewage treatment plant, and maintain zero discharge into the Narmada river.
The body said that the task should be undertaken in consultation with the municipal board at Amarkantak, which may include the task of preparing common sewage treatment plan.
Options for creating a biogas plant for utilizing waste should also be considered individually by houses, hotels, hostels and institutions operating in the area.