Editorial: Water words

Hindon, a tributary of Ganga, is one of the polluted river stretches and no meaningful action has been being taken to clean it, the National Green Tribunal said Tuesday.

It also directed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary to ensure coordination for rejuvenation of the waterbody. Instead of shifting of blame from one department to another, steps should be taken for the restoration of water quality of Hindon, said the NGT.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said, “The river is practically dead and needs to be restored in the interest of the environment and public health. Meaningful progress must be achieved by the concerned departments including the Urban Development, Irrigation, Jal Nigam, and the Environment.”

The green panel said all drains joining Kali, Krishna and Hindon should have in-situ remediation and plan for connectivity with the identified sewage treatment plant.

In-situ remediation is the process by which contaminated soil or water is treated without removing the pollution or other hazardous waste from its sub-surface. “The Chief Secretary may ensure that there is coordination among all the concerned Departments in accordance with the action plan prepared by a committee headed by former high court judge, Justice S U Khan,” the bench said.

The NGT said that environment compensation from violators has to be recovered if deadlines are not adhered to. It directed the UP chief secretary to file a consolidated reply before 2 February, 2021. The committee told the NGT that chief Secretary assured in his written report that till pipe water supply is provided, water will be provided by tankers. However, it has not been done till date, the committee added.

“These are issues which could easily have been monitored in the monthly monitoring meeting of the chief secretary as envisaged in the monitoring framework submitted by the State to the NGT. Chief Secretary should hold the monthly monitoring meeting regularly so that such issues get sorted out regularly,” the committee said.

The committee also told the tribunal there has been no physical progress in installation of any of three sewage treatment plants proposed in the last one year.

“No action has been taken against any negligent officer despite directions of NGT. Performance Guarantee of Rs five Crore directed by NGT has yet to be deposited. Not a single village has been provided water through tankers,” it said.

While all rivers are to be considered holy since they provide water to human needs, it is all the more so for Ganga. Strict action should be taken against those who pollute it.

 

NT Bureau