In order to revive 1,376 km long Yamuna, the green tribunal on Tuesday cracked the whip and issued a slew of directions including a fine of Rs 5,000 on those found throwing religious and other waste into the river and of Rs 50,000 for dumping debris in the river flood plain.
A bench headed by National Green Tribunal chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also banned any new construction of any type in the flood plain area under its “Mailey se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalization plan 2017.”
The tribunal while hearing a petition filed by Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan also asked the authorities to revisit the existing construction in the flood plain area, which has shrunk because of encroachments in the last two decades or so.
Some of the capital’s unauthorised colonies have come up in the river flood-plain of 97 sq km in Delhi and its future remains uncertain with today’s NGT order. “Only cultural and heritage structures should be allowed,” Mishra said, quoting the tribunal order read out in the court on Tuesday.
The tribunal also accepted recommendations of two panels set up by it and constituted a new panel headed by Special Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forest having representatives from different authorities in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to monitor implementation of its order and ensure minimum flow of water to sustain aquatic life in the river.
The Central Pollution Control Board in an affidavit in Supreme Court last week had said Yamuna was as polluted as it was over a decade ago implying that hundreds of crores of rupees spent by the government has not resulted in revival of the river.
“It is indeed a comprehensive judgment and we welcome it in totality. We look forward to NGT's Yamuna restoration plan under 'Mailey se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Plan 2017'. This judgement will have impact on other states as well. We will continue to push for implementation of this judgement," Mishra said.
In January, 2013, NGT had banned dumping of debris including construction material into Yamuna and had directed the states of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh to remove the rubble immediately.
?In another order, the NGT pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to file a status report on its direction to ban dumping of debris on Yamuna and Hindon river flood-plains, while asking the state government to submit a report by January 30.