The National Green Tribunal today blamed both the Centre and the states of passing the buck on cleaning of the river Ganga, as it convened a high-level meeting next week to discuss implementation of the first phase of Ganga Action Plan (GAP).
“After deliberation, it is clear that we will hold the meeting of officers regarding implementation of Phase-1 of Ganga Action Plan (GAP) as various orders passed by the tribunal are not complied with,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
Blaming the Centre and the states for passing the buck on the issue for a long time, the bench said “it’s a federal structure. Does the Centre owe responsiblity to clear everything or the state should also share the responsiblity. We have to look into this aspect and fix accountability accordingly.”
The green panel then directed the secretary or additional secretary of the Environment and Forests Ministry, secretary of Water Resources Ministry, chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, member secretary of pollution control boards of both states and other officials to be present on October 19 for the meeting.
The NGT said various issues relating to cleaning of Ganga will be discussed that day as it also directed petitioner advocate M C Mehta to be present in the meeting.
During the hearing, government’s counsel said the Centre had approved in principal Rs 328 crore to Uttarakhand since 2008, but only Rs 78 crore has been spent till now.
He said several Sewage Treatment Plants are being constructed between Gangotri and Haridwar and alleged that Uttarakhand Pey Jal Nigam was not being able to execute the programmes.
“Uttarakhand needs to create a Special Purpose Vehicle to execute the programmes with necessary infrastructure and manpower,” the counsel said.
Advocate General of Uttarakhand said a total of 1,083 establishments, including 396 hotels and 436 Ashrams, were operating in Haridwar without environmental clearances and these will be shut down if, they do not take necessary clearances.
( Source – PTI )