The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday restrained Punjab from spending the first instalment of Rs. 16.13 crores being disbursed by Union Urban Development Ministry for controlling contamination of under-ground water in the state till it examines the details as to how they want to spend the money.
A bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar restrained Punjab, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and Municipal Corporation of Amritsar from spending this amount till specific orders by the Tribunal.
"We restrain Punjab, PPCB and Municipal Corporation of Amritsar (MCA) from spending this amount till specific order in relation to a particular project being approved by the Tribunal.
"We direct Punjab and MCA to file comprehensive details before us as to how they propose to utilise the first installment given by the Ministry to Punjab with details of capacity of projects, its utility and time to be taken in completing the project, the estimated cost and factors upon which the costing is based," the Tribunal said.
The green bench also said the details shall also deal with the total sewage produce in Amritsar per day.
The Tribunal had taken suo motu action on the groundwater contamination in Punjab last year and issued a notice to the Union Ministry of Urban Development.
The ministry was impleaded in the case after Punjab told the Tribunal that it was not releasing funds for controlling the contamination of underground water in the state.
Punjab had filed a report with regard to Amritsar and Ludhiana districts saying all short-term and long-term measures for controlling and remedying the contamination of underground water were being taken but the progress was not very effective due to lack of funds.
It had also said samples of the underground water were taken from Hoshiarpur for assessing the contamination and the analysis showed that in five samples of Total Dissolve Solid (TDS) count was in excess of the standard parameters, while in others within the permissible limit.
PPCB had stated before the Tribunal that it would continue to manage and oversee the operations of all the electro-plating units in Amritsar and Ludhiana districts and will also state the causes for excess in TDS in underground water samples analysed.