July 26, 2019 1:34:44 am
Citing “non-cooperation” from the Uttar Pradesh government and a new assignment from the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, the chairman of a monitoring committee formed by the NGT to look into pollution in the Hindon river has resigned.
The resignation letter by S U Khan, former judge of Allahabad High Court, was sent to the NGT two weeks ago, one of the committee members told The Indian Express. “He could not get anything done due to non-cooperation from the Uttar Pradesh government. The letter also mentions that he won’t be able to give enough time to the NGT committee as the Allahabad High Court has given him a new assignment,” claimed the official.
The resignation came to light Thursday when an NGT bench led by Adarsh Kumar Goel was hearing the matter on Hindon river pollution.
A lawyer representing the UP government told The Indian Express that the NGT was yet to decide whether it wanted to reconstitute the committee.
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“We have not received the letter. Once we get it, we will respond to the charge (of non-cooperation). We will comply with all NGT orders,” said the counsel.
The committee — with Sushil Kumar from the Ministry of Environment and J Chandra Babu from the Central Pollution Control Board — was formed in August 2018 and tasked with preparing an action plan to deal with river contamination by polluting industries.
One of the most polluted river stretches in the country, the Hindon passes through seven districts — Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar — before discharging its effluents into the Yamuna at Momnathal village in Gautam Budh Nagar. According to an NGT report, at least 154 villages in the seven districts are afflicted by water-borne diseases.
The committee has submitted at least four reports to the NGT and all of them have accused UP officials of “apathy” and even “stonewalling” its action plan and monitoring.
“Authorities majorly responsible for compliance of the (NGT) directions are not assisting the monitoring committee and their approach is lackadaisical, which frustrates the basic project of the committee,” read the latest report of the committee submitted to the NGT in February this year.
In August 2018, the NGT had asked the UP government to shut 124 polluting industrial units that discharge their effluent into the Hindon river. Despite the order, almost all units are currently operational, read the report.
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