THE National Green Tribunal (NGT) expressed displeasure at the inaction of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) on the large-scale violation of environmental norms by several establishments in the Banda, Mahoba and Chitrakoot districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The NGT panel headed by Chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted that a UPPCB report dated May 5, 2019 had acknowledged large scale violation of the law by several establishments but had not mentioned any action initiated either to deal with the illegal activities or punitive action for prosecution or for compensation recovery on the “Polluter Pays” principle”.
“The inference is that either the UPPCB is incompetent to enforce the law or is colluding with the law violators, resulting in failure of rule of law,” the NGT observed.
The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by an Ashish Kumar Dixit for action against the illegal operation of marriage halls, nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, commercial complexes, hotels and other commercial establishments without requisite prior consent from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) in Banda, Mahoba and Chitrakoot districts.
The NGT panel also expressed regret that though an amount of Rs 14 crores was available with the UPPCB for environment restoration, it had no strategy for utilizing the amount.
Directing the UPPCB to make a plan to use the fund with the approval of CPCB within one month, the NGT said the amount could be used to hire experts and consultants, expand the air and water quality monitoring network, procure scientific equipment, undertake restitution remediation and specialized studies on contaminated sites so that there is effective oversight for the enforcement of law.
“Under no circumstances (should) these funds be spent on salaries, logistics etc,” the NGT warned.
It also ordered the Member Secretary, UPPCB to be present in person before the NGT with the compliance report on the next date of hearing, and Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh to review the situation and furnish a report on the matter within one month from the date of the order.