NGT imposes ₹200 crore fine on Gzb authorities for shoddy sewage, waste management
A penalty of ₹212 crore was imposed on account of the seven non-compliant sewage treatment plants and another ₹5.17 crore was imposed owing to a gap of 500 tonnes daily in the amount of solid waste generated and treated in the city
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday imposed a hefty environmental fine of ₹200 crore on the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) and the Ghaziabad municipal corporation for their “far from satisfactory” management of sewage and solid waste in Ghaziabad city.
Issuing its final order on a petition filed in 2018 by the Confederation of Trans-Hindon RWAs, an umbrella group of residents’ associations, the tribunal observed that different committees constituted over the past four years have submitted several reports agreeing in essence to the confederation’s contention that the solid waste management at Indirapuram’s Shakti Khand landfill was “improper”, posing health hazards to nearby residents.
“In view of continuing violation of norms, Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam (municipal corporation) and Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) have to be held liable to pay compensation for restoration of environment... Liability of nagar nigam will be 75% as primary responsibility for maintaining drains, STPs and solid waste is that of the municipal corporation. The liability of GDA will be 25%. The amount of compensation is fixed at ₹200 crore,” the tribunal said, while disposing of the petition.
A penalty of ₹212 crore was imposed on account of the seven non-compliant sewage treatment plants and another ₹5.17 crore was imposed owing to a gap of 500 tonnes daily in the amount of solid waste generated and treated in the city.
The tribunal, however,rounded off the overall fine to ₹200 and directed that the amount be deposited within two months with the Ghaziabad district magistrate. It also directed that the amount be utilised on remediation measures as per the action plan that is to be jointly prepared the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and the district magistrate, along with inputs from the GDA and the civic body.
A report dated July 20, 2022, submitted after inspections by the CPCB, found that 35,791 metric tonnes of solid waste was dumped at Shakti Khand landfill after bioremediation (till February 15, 2022).It said 336,287 metric tonnes of waste, of a 491,000 metric tonnes was processed at the other site at Pratap Vihar.
“A total of 10,266 metric tonnes of RDF (refuse derived fuel) is still stored at two sites,” the NGT said in its order.
Citing another CPCB report with respect to the sewage management, the tribunal said 10 drains carrying sewage and sullage are emptying into river Hindon. The underground sewage lines terminate at eight sewage treatment plants having a combined capacity of 480MLD (million litres per day).
“Of the eight STPs monitored by CPCB, only one STP is reported to be complying with reference to faecal coliform standards. The treated waste water is discharged into the drains rather than putting into the recycling or reuse system. Bioremediation process adopted by 10 drains is found to be ineffective because of non-scientific approach. Huge pollution load in terms of BOD (biochemical oxygen demand is the amount of oxygen taken to degrade organic matter) is discharged into river Hindon,” the NGT said.
The 10 drains run through Indirapuram, Kaila Bhatta, Pratap Vihar, Rahul Vihar, Dasna, Arthala, Karhera, city forest, Nandgram and Hindon Vihar.
“It is seen that the overall situation with respect to solid and sewage management is far from satisfactory. There is a huge gap in waste generation and treatment/processing. For solid waste management, a site measuring 33.108 acres in Galand village and the waste to the extent of 20,000 MT is being deposited on Pipeline Road. Further, another private land on an abandoned brick kiln site is being used for dumping waste. Thus, the gap appears to be of 500 tonnes per day,” the tribunal said.
The office bearers of the petitioner confederation said the exhaustive order by the tribunal “exposed the truth of the claims” made by the two agencies.
“The condition of sewage and solid waste management is far from satisfactory in the city, despite what the two agencies claim. The tribunal has appropriately imposed the fine and asked that funds be diverted for remedial measures. We will ensure compliances and will approach the tribunal again in case of non-compliance,” said Mohan Sangwan, general secretary of the confederation.
The GDA said it is yet to receive a copy of the order.
“The bioremediation process is in progress at Shakti Khand and it will soon be completed. For the waste to energy plant in Galand, we have already handed over land to the corporation. So, once the site is ready, our solid waste will go there. Our STPs are running optimally and the other STPs are maintained by an agency under the ”one city, one operator” concept,” said Rakesh Kumar Gupta, chief engineer, GDA.
When asked about the matter, municipal commissioner Mahendra Singh Tanwar said, “We will seek legal remedy with regard to the cost imposed. The Indirapuram site is not under our jurisdiction but still we did bio-remediation there and moved out on April 1. GDA is responsible for the garbage dumping there. The waste to energy plant site at Galand is yet to be started. The 4.91 lakh metric tonnes of waste at Pratap Vihar site was bio-remediated by us till end of May. For STPs, we are working on a plan which will be chalked out shortly.”