The National Green Tribunal has warned authorities in Delhi of “coercive steps” including attachment of accounts and imprisonment for not implementing its orders on keeping Yamuna clean. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swantanter Kumar took strong exception to the failure of the authorities to act with “requisite seriousness and effectiveness” on its directions on “Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017”.
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“Suffice it is to say that all authorities concerned would not compel the tribunal to travel into that realm of jurisdiction, of the tribunal and perform their statutory obligations and compliance to the judgment to protect the environment, prevent further pollution of river Yamuna and restore it to its original pristine and quality,” the bench said. It directed the Municipal Corporation and Delhi Jal Board to submit within one week report on the status of cleaning of the drains in connection with its January 13 order.
With respect to the issue of “minimum flow” in Yamuna, it ordered the counsel appearing for Haryana to seek instructions and inform the Tribunal on April 16, the next date of hearing. Earlier, on March 2, the tribunal was informed that flow in Yamuna is largely dependent upon water released by Haryana from Tajewala and there was an agreement in 1994 among five states – Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi.
On the issue of throwing of waste into Yamuna, the bench said, “DDA and all other authorities shall place a specific report as to the persons who have been directed to pay compensation and the amount of compensation recovered.” It also asked the authorities to demarcate the Yamuna flood plain and submit a compliance report to the tribunal. The green bench also directed the Secretary of Delhi government, CEO of Delhi Jal Board, three expert members of the tribunal to be present at 3 pm on April 1 for meeting in the chamber.
On January 13, the bench had announced a fine of Rs 50,000 on anyone caught dumping construction material or religious offerings in the river.