The National Green Tribunal Monday slapped a cost of Rs 25 crore on the Delhi government for failing to curb pollution in the city. The tribunal gave the government the option of recovering the cost of “damage to the environment” from officers who are tasked with taking action against polluters, as well as from the polluters under the ‘polluter pays principle’.
The money is to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board and will be utilised by the agency exclusively for anti-pollution measures.
A bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, also ordered the government to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs 25 crore within a month. If the total cost is not submitted within three months, the guarantee will be forfeited, the bench said. The Delhi government spokesperson did not respond to calls and messages seeking a comment.
The order came on a plea filed by Mundka and Tikri Kalan residents, who alleged that industries in the area continue to burn plastic, leather, and motor engine oil despite the ban, and that illegal units continue to thrive on agricultural land.
Referring to the compliance affidavit submitted by the government, the NGT said “vague” assurances were made that challans were issued, but no details were furnished. “Such particulars may be now furnished and action initiated… against those responsible, including officers of the Delhi government,” the bench said.
The Delhi government chief secretary will now have to prepare an action plan to identify the names of people responsible for execution of the orders and supervise the action taken.
Several agencies, such as the environment department, civic bodies as well as the DSIIDC, are responsible for curbing pollution in industrial areas.