No action taken to remove chromium dumps in Kanpur, Committee tells NGT

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New Delhi, Jan 5 (PTI) No action has been taken to remove chromium dumps at Rania and Rakhi Mandi in Kanpur despite direction to the Uttar Pradesh government, a committee told the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday.

The oversight committee, headed by Justice S V S Rathore, former Judge of the Allahabad High Court, told the NGT that tenders have been cancelled and now re-assessment study is to be done by NEERI, Nagpur.

'Thereafter, fresh tenders shall be floated. This suggests that the removal of waste is delayed approximately by the next six months,' it said.

On the issue of tapping of drains joining the river Ganga, the committee observed that the exercise was being done at a slow pace.

'In the last six months, just two-three drains have been tapped. Moreover, phytoremediation has also not been initiated in any of the untapped drains. The environment compensation of Rs 18 crore imposed by CPCB on account of non-compliance of NGT order of taking interim measures have not yet been deposited by the State government,' the committee said.

There is an urgent need for augmenting the treatment capacity of solid waste, it said.

'Out of the total waste generation of 3,275 tonnes per day in 21 towns total capacity of mechanised processing is 2,650 tonnes per day i.e 81 per cent in 4 major towns i.e. Kanpur, Varanasi, Prayagraj and Kannauj. Furthermore, the smaller urban local bodies do not have dumping grounds/processing facilities. Out of total 652 urban local bodies, 70 have not been able to identify land for this purpose.

'It was earlier directed that the State government shall inform the time frame within which material recovery facilities (MRFs). i.e. 1 MRF facility per ULB will be set up for which funds were released last year. No information regarding progress in this matter has been reported,' it said.

The NGT had earlier directed the Uttar Pradesh chief secretary to ensure prompt disposal of chromium dumps at Rania and Rakhi Mandi in Kanpur which have been in existence since 1976.

The tribunal had earlier rapped the state government for failing to check sewage discharge containing toxic chromium into Ganga at Rania and Rakhi Mandi and imposed a penalty of Rs 280 crore on 22 tanneries for causing pollution.

It had also held the UP government liable and slapped a penalty of Rs 10 crore on it.

The green panel had said the problem has not been tackled for the last 43 years and it has resulted in contamination of groundwater affecting the health and life of the inhabitants.

The order came after perusing two reports filed by Justice Arun Tandon, former Judge of the Allahabad High Court, who had been appointed as head of a Committee to oversee the compliance of Ganga cleaning.

Justice Tandon, along with the representatives of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, the CPCB, state pollution control board, UP Jal Nigam and the local residents of the area, visited the sites and noticed the status of the Mandi.

Taking strong note of the report, the tribunal had said, 'The above report is self-speaking and paints a grim picture of the failure of the authorities in taking remedial measures, forcing the inhabitants to drink polluted water which is a serious hazard to the health. PTI PKS SA