A year after ordering immediate closure of 150 commercial establishments that were polluting the Ganga and had been served closure notices between 2014 and 2016, the Uttarakhand High Court has ordered the state government to “identify” and “seal” the establishments, including ashrams, that are polluting rivers in Uttarakhand, including the Ganga and its tributaries, by letting untreated sewage into the rivers.
Asking the district magistrates of all 13 Uttarakhand districts to “identify the premises, hotels, industries, commercial establishments, Ashrams, Deras… which are letting untreated sewage into” the rivers, the Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Alok Singh on Monday ordered that the polluting establishments, including ashrams along the Ganga, be sealed within three weeks. Last year, the bench had ordered immediate closing of the 150 establishments polluting the Ganga,
On Tuesday, a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on Ganga rejuvenation under the Centre’s Namami Gange project that was tabled in the Parliament mentioned an audit done by CAG based on the December 2, 2016 order of the Uttarakhand High Court.
The audit report further stated that 44.2 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage was being discharged into the Ganga at Haridwar and 10 MLD at Rishikesh.
On drains opening into rivers, the audit report stated that untreated discharge of 26.292 MLD was falling into the Ganga and its tributaries.
Of the 150 defaulting units which the court wanted “shut” last year, closure notices were served to 106 establishments in the year 2015-16, and to 44 polluting establishments in the year 2014.
The CAG audit report mentioned that of the 106 units, 59 cases were revoked, 10 units were closed, and remaining 37 were served notices “but (there was) no evidence of follow up activities”.
Of the 44 defaulting industries, 23 notices were revoked, 11 units were shut, and closure notices were served to six units, but no follow up was done to check whether the six units were closed, and in four cases the matter was under process.