Sewage discharge in stormwater drains: NGT slaps ₹15k fine on Ghaziabad municipal commissioner - Hindustan Times
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Sewage discharge in stormwater drains: NGT slaps 15k fine on Ghaziabad municipal commissioner

By, Ghaziabad
May 23, 2024 05:28 AM IST

Municipal commissioner Vikramaditya Malik on Wednesday said the cost imposed by the tribunal was for an incorrect report filed by corporation officials

Taking an adverse view of the stance taken by different Uttar Pradesh officials on the issue of sewage/effluent discharge into stormwater drains in Karkar Model in Sahibabad, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a fine of 15,000 on the municipal commissioner of Ghaziabad for filing a “misleading response” before it.

Environmentalist Sushil Raghav had sought the execution of the tribunal’s previous order of March 19, 2021, to stop the discharge of sewage and effluents into drains meant to carry only run-off rainwater. (HT Archive)
Environmentalist Sushil Raghav had sought the execution of the tribunal’s previous order of March 19, 2021, to stop the discharge of sewage and effluents into drains meant to carry only run-off rainwater. (HT Archive)

The imposition of cost came during the hearing of a petition filed by environmentalist Sushil Raghav, who sought the execution of tribunal’s previous order of March 19, 2021, to stop the discharge of sewage and effluents into drains meant to carry only run-off rainwater.

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Raghav contended that sewage/effluents were flowing in stormwater drains in Sahibabad’s Karkar Model and it needed to be stopped.The tribunal on January 12 issued notices to respondents seeking their replies in the matter.

In its latest order on May 16, the tribunal observed that one communication dated May 14 was received from under secretary of environment, forest and climate change department, Uttar Pradesh, and it stated that in compliance of the January 12 directions of the NGT, necessary directions were issued to urban development department, district magistrate of Ghaziabad, and the municipal commissioner, Ghaziabad corporation.

“Strangely, when we put a question to the counsel appearing for the state in respect of compliance to be done by the district magistrate, Ghaziabad, he replied that the DM has no responsibility or role in the matter. Hence, we require the chief secretary of UP to appear virtually on the next date or to file his personal affidavit explaining the situation and also disclosing reason for non-compliance of the order,” the tribunal said.

As for the municipal commissioner, the tribunal said the commissioner had initially taken the stand that no sewage is flowing through stormwater drains but when asked to point it out from the compliance report of the municipal corporation, he could not do so.

“Hence, we find that an attempt has been made by respondent number 4 (municipal commissioner) to incorrectly state before the tribunal that no such sewage water is flowing in stormwater drain and incorrectly state about filing of compliance report without filing any such compliance report. Hence we impose a cost of 15,000 on the commissioner, municipal corporation, Ghaziabad, for filing such a misleading response,” the tribunal said.

Municipal commissioner Vikramaditya Malik on Wednesday said the cost imposed by the tribunal was for an incorrect report filed by corporation officials.

“We have sought clarification from our departments as to why such an incomplete response was filed. We will file a complete response in this matter and will abide by the directions of NGT,” Malik said.

Further, petitioner Raghav had also submitted photographs of the area before the NGT and these showed that sewage discharged from households is openly flowing into stormwater drains.

“These photographs are not disputed by any of the respondents, which prima facie reveals that the order passed by the tribunal has not been complied with until now,” the tribunal observed.

It said the counsel for the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said the UPPCB is not responsible for taking any action and he cannot make a statement if sewage is still flowing through stormwater drains.

Slamming the UPPCB for this stance, the NGT said the agency “has not only failed to discharge its responsibility but an incorrect stand has been taken that UPPCB has no responsibility in this matter.”

“We are of the view that once an issue relating to flowing of sewage in stormwater drain is raised, then it is the responsibility of the UPPCB to take samples from stormwater drains in question and get them analysed to find out the correct position, and, once the photographs are enclosed with details of the area by the applicant showing that the sewage is flowing openly, then it is the responsibility of the UPPCB to find out the person responsible for the same and take appropriate action,” the tribunal said.

The tribunal has given one more opportunity to the respondents to file their revised responses before the next date of hearing on September 2.

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