SC notice to Centre on plea against encroachments on Ganga floodplains in Patna

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) The Supreme Court has sought the Centre's reply against a National Green Tribunal order dismissing a plea on unauthorised and illegal constructions and other permanent encroachments on the eco-fragile floodplains of the Ganga in Patna.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Jal Shakti, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Central Water Commission and others.

The top court was hearing a plea filed by Patna resident Ashok Kumar Sinha against June 30, 2020 order of NGT dismissing his plea against illegal constructions and permanent encroachments on the eco-fragile floodplains.

The plea contended that the tribunal passed the order without examining the detailed particulars of the violators encroaching upon the Ganga floodplains in Patna submitted by the appellant.

'The illegal and unauthorized constructions and permanent encroachments on the floodplain of Ganga are creating tremendous amounts of waste, noise and generating vast quantum of sewage.

'They are aggravating the risk to life and property of thevdwellers occupying the surroundings since every year, the areas stated in preceding paras go down under flood waters. The illegal constructions were obstructing the natural course of the river,' said the plea filed through advocate Akash Vashishtha.

The plea said they were causing deleterious environmental impacts on the rich biodiversity and were destroying the habitat and, thereby, the very survival of Dolphins, a Schedule I species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, on the stretch.

The plea stated that the tribunal failed to note the fact that a clean Ganga river was vital and essential to meet the drinking and domestic water needs of 5.5 lakh population of the city as the groundwater in the district was contaminated with Arsenic.

'A massive 520 acres of ecologically sensitive Ganga floodplain, stretching from Nauzer Ghat to Nurpur Ghat, in Patna, have been usurped. This stretch is prone to recurrent floods every year. A multi-storey building, belonging to the Takhat Shri Harmandir Sahib, has further come up since 2017 and parts, thereof, are still under construction,' the plea said. PTI PKS SA