The National Green Tribunal has directed Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam to deposit interim compensation of Rs. 1 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which will be utilised for the restoration of the environment.
"Pending assessment quantification of compensation, the Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam may deposit interim compensation of Rs. 1 crore with the CPCB. The Nigam is free to recover the amount out of the salary of erring officers," the NGT said.
An NGT bench headed by its chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that "the authorities have to be held accountable by way of compensation on the polluter pays principle and departmental action for their failure in breach of the constitutional obligation under the "Public Trust Doctrine", apart from liability for prosecution under the Criminal Law."
The green tribunal directed the Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh with the assistance of Additional Chief Secretary, Nagar Vikas, UP and/or any other authorities to review the situation within one month.
The NGT said that compensation payable in terms of orders of this Tribunal may be deposited with CPCB within one month which may be utilized for the restoration of damage to the environment by preparing an appropriate action plan.
The tribunal asked the Additional Chief Secretary, Nagar Vikas, UP to file compliance status after coordinating with concerned authorities after three months.
The NGT directed CPCB to give an independent report on the issue of management of solid as well as liquid waste in the area in question before the next date on February 24.
The tribunal also said that Additional Chief Secretary, Nagar Vikas, UP may remain present in person by Video Conferencing on the next date.
The NGT was hearing an application filed by the Resident Welfare Associations, Confederation of Trans Hindan RWA's, Ghaziabad relating to scientifically managing the waste at Indirapuram, Vasundhara and Vaishali, Ghaziabad, to the prejudice of Rule of Law and the environment and public health.
It expressed disappointment with the performance of statutory authorities in scientifically managing the waste at Indirapuram, Vasundhara and Vaishali, Ghaziabad, to the prejudice of Rule of Law and the environment and public health.
The NGT said that it is seen that the remedial action is highly inadequate and statutory timelines, as well as timelines fixed by the Tribunal, have been crossed.
"For acknowledged failure and damage to the environment, no accountability is fixed. There is also non-payment of compensation for delay in violation of orders of this Tribunal already quoted above. Thus, any recommendation for extension of timeline without fixing accountability for past failure is uncalled for, " the NGT said.
"Crossing of the timeline is a criminal offence under the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 read with the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Section 268 to 270 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 also makes any act or omission causing injury to the public or any act likely to spread infection a criminal offence. Thus, the Tribunal cannot be a party to permitting the continuation of such criminal offence. The criminal and civil liability for the failure is of the concerned authorities as laid down," the NGT added.
The Green Tribunal noted that Pratap Vihar Legacy Site where waste is being dumped for more than ten years remains un-remediated and the drain has been found to be covered with the floating solid waste with such heavy quantity that the water was not even visible and no work of clearing was going on.
The tribunal noted that failure to manage drains adds to pollution of river Ganga as the said drain first meet Hindan which meets Yamuna, which is tributary of Ganga. (ANI)