The national green tribunal (NGT) has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to explain why it failed to implement the tribunal’s March 3, 2015, order on protection of wetlands.
NGT sought an explanation on July 22 in an order on a contempt petition filed by a Noida environmentalist Anand Arya.
On March 3, 2015, NGT had directed the UP chief secretary to identify and notify all wetlands across the state by June 3, 2015. The order was issued on a petition filed by Arya.
“We direct the State of UP... to exercise its powers under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 and take a decision in identifying wetlands in the entire State of UP in accordance with law and within a period of three months from the date of receipt of the copy of the order,” the order had said.
However, no action was taken by the government in this regard and Arya filed a contempt plea demanding action against officials for failing to implement the NGT order in a timebound manner.
Acting on Arya’s contempt plea, the NGT on July 22, 2016, sought an explanation from UP government.
The government counsel submitted before the green tribunal that the state was about to finalise compliance on the tribunal’s order.
“Let him file an affidavit within one week from today giving complete details of the wetlands which are already protected (being part of the protected area), wetlands which are more than 500 hectares in or outside the protected area, details of the wetlands identified by the state from areas outside the protected areas,” the NGT order said.
NGT also ordered the government to submit recommendations on wetlands to the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) within one week. The green tribunal directed the counsel appearing for MoEF to take clear instructions as to what steps the ministry needs to take and the time required for it.
“It is stated that, as of today, no recommendation has been filed to the MoEF. Let the needful be done immediately and compliance report submitted to the tribunal,” the NGT said. The matter will be heard next on August 1.
Arya said neither state nor central government is serious about wetland conservation. “Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority has met only once since 2010. Its term expired in 2013 and was extended a few months ago till September 2016, following the filing of our case,” he said.