The National Green Tribunal on Thursday issued a show cause notice to Kanpur municipal commissioner and the city’s water body officials asking why action should not be taken against them for degrading environment.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, while hearing a matter related to the cleaning of river Ganga, sought a response to allegation of degrading the environment by dumping sludge from the sewage at unauthorised sites.
The bench made the remarks after it was informed that cleaning of the sewage in the city started at the beginning of this month and the sludge taken out was being dumped on Bhauti site.
The bench had yesterday slapped a Rs 50,000 fine on a scientist from the Environment Ministry but withdrawn it later, warning officials against passing the buck on matters relating to the cleaning of Ganga.
The bench had said that in future any such act would lead to a penalty of Rs 50,000.
The bench’s reaction had come after a scientist appearing for the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) failed to answer its query on what would be the minimum flow of the river.
The bench, which is hearing the Ganga cleaning case on a day-to-day basis for expeditious disposal, had earlier slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 each on officers of the Ministry of Water Resources and UP Jal Nigam for filing incorrect information on 30 drains joining the river Ganga in Garhmukteshwar area of Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier, the tribunal was told by an experts’ panel that the functional sewage treatment plants in the Garhmukteshwar area of Uttar Pradesh do not operate as the domestic sewage network is not connected to the main sewerage system.
A three-member committee set up by the NGT had said that the Garhmukteshwar stretch of the Ganga should receive special attention as it was the habitat of the critically-endangered Gangetic Dolphin, an indicator species for the river’s ecosystem.
In February, the bench had ordered a CBI probe into the execution of the Ganga cleaning project after it noted that Rs 31.82 crore was spent on two sewage treatment plants (STPs) and a 58-km sewerage line project without due analysis and verification of the actual pollution load in the Garh drain and Brijghat drain.