A penalty of Rs 50, 000 will be imposed on those dumping waste in the stretch between Haridwar and Unnao of River Ganga, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said on Thursday.
The bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the authorities that no waste dumping should be allowed within 500 meters from the edge of the Ganga. Also, 100 meters from the edge of the river should be declared a “no-development zone,” the NGT said.
The bench observed that an amount of Rs 7,000 crore had already been spent so far by the government for cleaning of the Ganga and directed the Centre to not spend any more money on the project.
Environmental activist MC Mehta, in his plea before the NGT, demanded a CBI inquiry into the 7,000 crore spent by the government.
“The amount spent on cleaning of Ganga has gone waste. I think there should be an enquiry by the Government of India. There is definitely more money spent than Rs 7,000 crore as every authority has spent money on cleaning of the river. There should be a CBI enquiry or a CAG audit on how the funds have been spent, as this is the public money which has been wasted,” Mehta said as reported by PTI.
The Tribunal directed the concerned authorities to complete the setting up of a sewage treatment plant and cleaning of drains within two years. It further ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to shift tanneries within six weeks from Jajmau in Kanpur to leather parks in Unnao. the UP and the Uttrakhand government were directed to formulate guidelines for religious activities that take place on the ghats of Ganga or its tributaries.
The concept of zero liquid discharge and online monitoring of effluents should not be applied to industrial units falling under the area of Ganga, NGT said. It also directed industries to stop the extraction of groundwater.
In its 543-page judgment, the NGT announced the formation of a supervisory committee to look into the implementation of the directions passed and directed the committee to submit a report on the same. While Haridwar lies in Uttarakhand, Unnao is a district in nearby Uttar Pradesh.
The bench divided the cleaning of the river in different segments, Gomukh to Haridwar (Phase-I), Haridwar to Unnao (Segment B of Phase-I), border of UP to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.
The tribunal had heard the arguments of the parties for almost 18 months before reserving the judgment on May 31. The verdict came on a 1985 PIL filed by M C Mehta which was further transferred to the NGT from the apex court in 2014.