Lack of NMCG funds no justification for Sai river pollution, says NGT

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) Non-availability of funds from National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) cannot be a justification for not stopping pollution in a river, the National Green Tribunal said on Thursday while imposing a salary cut of Rs 1,000 per month on the officer concerned for failing to check pollution in UP's Sai river which meets the Ganga.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said if funds are available from any source, it has no objection for the use in rejuvenation of a river. The tribunal said the concerned authorities cannot avoid their responsibility under the public trust doctrine, as per directions in the Supreme Court judgement.

“Taking a lenient view in the matter and giving last opportunity for remedial action, factoring in the pandemic and the plea that the officer has been given this charge since February, 2021, but to uphold public interest and rule of law, we direct imposing of cut of Rs 1,000 per month from the salary of the officer till compliance, with further warning of more stringent action unless there is compliance and change in attitude towards compliance of law.

“If compliance is ensured and affidavit filed to the satisfaction of this Tribunal before the next date, the Tribunal may consider restoring the cut and refunding the deducted amount,” the bench said.

The NGT asked the Member Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board to explain why action be not taken for the board's failure in providing water quality data of the Sai, functioning of Regional River Committees and reporting the progress to the Chief Secretary.

“The PCB may also report further progress in the matter of recovery of compensation assessed and initiation of prosecution proposed,” the bench said while posting the matter for hearing on October 27.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by UP resident T S Singh seeking prevention of discharge of untreated sewage into the Sai at Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh. PTI PKS SA

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