NGT directs Delhi CS to monitor Yamuna rejuvenation
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Chief Secretary of Delhi, in coordination with other authorities and the Chief Secretaries of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to personally monitor the handling of the grim situation caused by years of neglect in the rejuvenation of Yamuna river by evolving an effective administrative mechanism.
The tribunal's order came observing that the satisfactory results are not visible on account of the failure of enforcement and monitoring, as found by the monitoring committee.
An NGT bench headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel recommended that the causes of failure of existing mechanism and remedial measures required be addressed in the light of reports of the committee.
This needs to be further overseen at the national level by the Central Monitoring Committee, headed by Secretary of Jal Shakti Ministry, which also includes National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), in terms of earlier orders of this tribunal, the bench pointed out.
The NGT bench further made it clear that non-adherence to timelines must result in adequate and stringent action against accountable persons.
"Timely completion of projects must be ensured, otherwise for generations the problem will remain untackled, as vested interests will like the projects to remain pending and delayed to the detriment of the public interest," the NGT said.
"Interim measures like phytoremediation need to employed where a permanent solution is delayed. Earlier directions of the tribunal, which by and large remain uncomplied so far, need to be strictly followed with meaningful coercive measures against the erring officers and the violators," the NGT further said.
The NGT said that River Rejuvenation Committees (RRCs) of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh may accordingly monitor execution of the action plans with proper inter-departmental coordination, to remedy the polluted stretches of Yamuna river in their respective jurisdiction subject to oversight of the chief secretaries on quarterly basis, who may thereafter give their quarterly reports to the Central Monitoring Committee (CMC) headed by the Secretary, Jal Shakti in terms of its earlier order dated September 21, 2020.
The bench noted, the matter has been dealt with by the Supreme Court for 23 years, before transfer of the matter to this tribunal in the year 2017 and by this tribunal for almost nine years.
The bench said that the committee has functioned for more than two years and contributed in a big way in steering the authorities with a clear roadmap by its exhaustive reports on every aspect but the authorities' action has been every time found to be inadequate and continues to be so.
This requires the authorities to change their attitude and rise to the occasion to discharge their constitutional obligation to the citizens to provide a clean environment by protecting the scarce sources of water by stringent steps against the erring officers and the violators and by effective monitoring at appropriate higher levels, reviewing/modifying the failed models and failed officers, the bench recommended.
The RRCs of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh may accordingly monitor execution of the action plans with proper inter-departmental coordination, to remedy the polluted stretches of river Yamuna in their respective jurisdiction, the bench said.
The NGT was hearing a matter relating to rejuvenation of Yamuna river.
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