National Green Tribunal dissolves panels on Yamuna revival

Delhi: 29 Jan, 2021 (Times of India)

NEW DELHI: National Green Tribunal on Thursday dissolved the Yamuna Monitoring Committee, along with another committee led by former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Pritam Pal. It asked the NCR states to instead act on all previous judgments issued by the green tribunal and the Supreme Court over the last two decades.
Taking the recommendations made by the YMC on record, NGT directed the chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to personally monitor the progress being made and submit periodical reports to the Central Monitoring Committee, which is headed by Jal Shakti Abhiyan secretary.
“From the report of the committee, it is clear that the major problem of preventing pollution by discharge of sewage, industrial effluents and other pollutants remains unaddressed. Thus, on the part of concerned authorities in the states of Delhi, Haryana and UP, further actions in terms of the earlier orders of this tribunal as well as the current recommendations of the committee need to be taken. This may be overseen by the chief secretaries of the concerned states on regular basis by constituting a cell of experts on the subject for meaningful monitoring in coordination with authorities like DDA, IDMC, DPCC, DJB, etc,” said a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.

“Non-adherence to timelines must result in adequate and stringent action against accountable people. Timely completion of projects must be ensured, otherwise for generations, the problem will remain untackled,” the bench added, stating interim measures like phytoremediation needed to be employed where permanent solution was being delayed.

Asking the river rejuvenation committees of Delhi, Haryana and UP to ensure interdepartmental coordination for the execution of action plans, the tribunal said quarterly reports on these should now be submitted to the chief secretaries on a quarterly basis, who may thereafter give their own quarterly reports to the central committee.

“We place on record our appreciation for the contribution of the YMC in the last more than two years. With the taking over of the further monitoring by the chief secretaries of NCT of Delhi (and other authorities of Delhi, including DDA, DJB and Municipal Corporations), Haryana and UP, proceedings of the committee constituted by this tribunal on the subject will stand concluded, subject to further monitoring by the concerned state authorities,” said the tribunal.

The two-member YMC consisted of retired NGT expert member BS Sajwan and former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra.

Delhi government had recently informed the tribunal that upgradation of sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi to reduce foam formation in the Yamuna was likely to take another three to five years.

Delays in getting tree cutting permissions, the Covid-19 lockdown, financial hardships and migration of labour had slowed down construction and upgradation of four major STPs — Kondli, Rithala, Okhla and Coronation Pillar — in Delhi, it added.