NGT directive stirs PMC to chalk out action plan to clear river encroachment
The green watchdog, on October 1 instructed civic bodies to clear the rivers of encroachments or be liable to pay a fine of Rs 1 crore eachUpdated: Oct 23, 2019 16:10 IST
Following National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) along with other government agencies is preparing an action plan to remove encroachments from rivers passing through Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Taking note of the rampant dumping of debris and encroachments along canals and riverbeds in the city, the green watchdog, on October 1, instructed Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations and Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) to clear the rivers of encroachments or be liable to pay a fine of Rs 1 crore each.
The NGT bench headed by SP Wangdi, K Ramakrishnan and Nagin Nanda ordered the local authorities to act along the Mula, Mutha, Pavana and Indrayani riverbeds within one month from the date of the order — October 1, 2019. The civic officials said that the action plan will be submitted before NGT by last week of October.
PMC city engineer Prashant Waghmare said, “As instructed by NGT, PMC is preparing an action plan that will be submitted to the former as per its order.”
Environment officer from PMC Mangesh Dighe said, “PMC conducted a meeting with various departments after the NGT order was passed. The action plan will be submitted to NGT soon.”
City-based activist Sarang Yadwadkar and Vivek Velankar filed cases with NGT pointing out encroachments at 12 locations in the city, covering Mula, Mutha, Indrayani and Pawana rivers. Acting on the complaint, NGT appointed a committee headed by chiefs of various government offices. The officers visited the spots and noted that encroachment is disrupting the natural flow of river water.
The NGT bench ruled, “The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) to immediately act in terms of the recommendations for removal of all unauthorised constructions raised within the prohibited areas and restore the rivers to its original form. All drains and nallahs (canals) discharging untreated waste water and untreated industrial effluent be diverted in order to ensure that waste is not discharged directly into the rivers and, all obstructions caused to the rivers mentioned by the committee shall be removed.”
The NGT report also stated that an action plan providing the timeline and budgetary provisions for the removal of encroachments be provided by PMC, PCMC and PMRDA. NGT also directed the water resource department, state government chief engineer and Pune irrigation circle to be involved in the process.