Expressing dissatisfaction over action taken by the Delhi government against unauthorised industrial activities, the NGT has asked the Delhi government to deposit Rs 25 crore with the CPCB for its failure to curb the problem of pollution in the city.
Taking cognisance of a report, filed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the NGT noted that the Delhi government has not deposited Rs 25 crore as per its order on December 3, 2018 and even though an action taken report (ATR) has been filed, the action hardly meets the magnitude of violation.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asked the AAP government to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs 25 crore and the apex pollution monitoring body to ensure that there is no further lapse in this regard.
“We are informed that a sum of Rs 6,40,000 has been recovered for release of 150 impounded vehicles found engaged in transporting pollutants. There is no serious exercise of assessing the cost of damage to the environment and the cost of restoration. It is also not clear whether the polluting activities have been stopped,” the tribunal said.
“The amount to be recovered on ‘Polluter Pays’ has to commensurate with the damage caused and adequate to meet the cost of restoration and deterrent so that polluting activity does not remain profitable which admittedly has not happened,” it said.
The National Green Tribunal said while the identified polluters are said to be more than 30,000, the alleged action is hardly against 150 vehicles.
It said the action taken against identified polluters by way of prosecution and recovery of deterrent compensation is hardly adequate for meaningful enforcement of rule of law and protection of environment.
The NGT granted last opportunity to the Delhi government to deposit the amount and furnish the performance guarantee.
“Let a further compliance affidavit be filed giving details of the action taken month wise and showing compliance of the order dated December 3, 2018,” the bench said.
It also directed the Delhi chief secretary to remain present in person on August 5, the next date of hearing.
The green panel said even after more than four-and-a-half years, the complaint of the aggrieved parties is that the pollution caused by the unregulated handling of plastic continues to remain unabated.
The tribunal was hearing pleas filed by Mundka village resident Satish Kumar and Tikri-Kalan native Mahavir Singh alleging pollution caused by burning of plastic, leather, rubber, motor engine oil and other waste materials and continuous operation of illegal industrial units dealing with such articles on agricultural lands in Mundka and Neelwal villages.
The tribunal had directed the Delhi chief secretary to co-ordinate with the municipal authorities concerned, police authorities and other officers responsible for compliance of orders of the tribunal already passed by it.
The NGT had asked the chief secretary to hold a joint meeting with the persons considered responsible for compliance and continue to hold such meetings at least once a month till the orders remain uncomplied.