Rs 5 lakh fine for dumping debris along Yamuna: Green Tribunal

Govt agencies tell NGT that 500 metric tonnes of debris is dumped every day

Written by Kamala Kelkar | New Delhi | Published: July 23, 2013 1:11 am

Anyone caught dumping debris along the Yamuna bank in the National Capital Region will be fined Rs 5 lakh to ensure that efforts to clean it are maintained,the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered Monday.

Despite efforts to remove tonnes of waste,the public agencies responsible for the riverbank reported that about 500 metric tonnes of debris is still getting dumped every month,especially overnight,near Geeta Colony. After hearing this,the NGT also ordered every agency to coordinate watchdogs throughout the area all day and night. Monday’s hearing on the progress of the river’s clean-up was toned down compared to Wednesday’s,when various agencies were threatened with “exemplary costs” for not collaborating.

Justice Swatanter Kumar,who had ordered on Wednesday that the agencies meet immediately to file a fluid progress report to him Monday,focused on keeping the Yamuna clean.

“Since there has been persistent pollution and obstruction on the riverbank by dumping of debris,we hereby direct to invoke the principle of Polluter Pays,” Kumar said,speaking of a concept that polluters should pay for their damage. “Any person who is found dumping debris on the river bank… shall be liable to pay a sum of Rs 5 lakh for causing pollution (and) for removal of the debris.”

Counsel for the Irrigation department of Uttar Pradesh said the agency was cleaning up other people’s messes,despite already removing 80,000 metric tonnes from the area and it being surrounded by Delhi territory.

Kumar asked the two governments to “sit down properly” and work together.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests was in charge of reporting on the collaborative progress with regard to the clean-up,but asked for more time to submit plans for a preservation project to maintain the waterfront.

Kumar granted it time but ordered that the remaining debris — 30,000 metric tonnes within UP’s jurisdiction and another 5,000 within NCR’s — be removed completely by August 15.

Five commissioners appointed by the NGT will revisit the site before the next hearing on August 27 to ensure that the orders have been fulfilled.

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