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Ganga pollution: ‘Full power’ delegated to state panel to take legal action against polluting units

The powers delegated to the panel are equivalent to those of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB)

dehradun Updated: Nov 11, 2017 20:10 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,Ganga,State panel
The state panel can take legal action against commercial units that dump sewage into the Ganga or its tributaries.(HT PHOTO)

DEHRADUN: To expedite the cleaning of the Ganga in Uttarakhand, the Centre has “delegated full powers” to the State Ganga Committee to take legal action against commercial establishments polluting the river and its tributaries.

“The powers delegated to the panel are equivalent to those of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB),” State Programme Management Group (SPMG) project director Ragav Langer said. “The SPMG can now initiate suo motu action against any commercial establishment polluting the Ganga or can take cognizance of similar complaints.”

The SPMG is now empowered to take legal action against commercial establishments. including hotels and industry, whose industrial effluents or sewage pass into the Ganga or its tributaries.

Exercising its powers, the SPMG has already initiated action against the establishments “involved” in polluting the Ganga and its offshoots. “We have issued a show cause notice against Pestleweed College (Dehradun) after a probe confirmed that its effluents pass into the Guchhu Pani stream,” Langer said. “The stream is a tributary of the river Saung, which is an offshoot of the Ganga.”

Similarly, the SPMG initiated action against three other educational institutes — DIT, IMS University and Kasiga School. “The residents of the Guchhu Pani area had also complained to us that the sewage from the three institutes was polluting the stream.”

Langer added that the action against Pestleweed College was taken under relevant sections of the Environment Protection Act for flouting effluent norms as notified by the central government.

The National Mission for Clean Ganga and the State Ganga Committee have been designated as Authorities under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act under the ‘Namami Gange, the central government’s flagship scheme, the official said.

Unlike the SPCB, which can take legal action against commercial establishments causing all types of pollution including air and water, the SPMG is mandated to take action only against commercial establishments polluting the Ganga and its tributaries. “The SPMG can enter the premises of any commercial establishment polluting the Ganga. It can take samples of water quality besides issue show cause notices against them,” Langer said. “We can even order closure of commercial establishments, if found polluting the Ganga or its tributaries.”

Langer said SPMG officials were being trained in initiating procedures relating to pollution cases. “Experts from Germany are extending technical support to our officials. We are getting their cooperation under the Indo-German Technical Cooperation for the Ganga Rejuvenation.”

First Published: Nov 11, 2017 20:09 IST