Our Yamuna revitalisation plan needs to move on priority: NGT

 The National Green Tribunal today warned states and public authorities of invoking its "punitive or contempt jurisdiction" for not following its orders saying its plan on revitalisation of Yamuna needs to move on priority basis and not at the "mercy of whims and fancies of some".

PTI| Updated: Jul 14, 2015, 21:20 PM IST

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal today warned states and public authorities of invoking its "punitive or contempt jurisdiction" for not following its orders saying its plan on revitalisation of Yamuna needs to move on priority basis and not at the "mercy of whims and fancies of some".

"Without hesitation any further violation and non compliance of the directions/orders will be taken seriously. A project which is envisaged to be completed by 2017 needs to move on priority basis not at the mercy of whims and fancies of some related to the project," a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

It said that it had tried its best and invoked "highest hierarchy of the state to ensure compliance of directions to restore river Yamuna to its original state".

"Before we travel to the realms of issuing punitive orders to officials concerned we would grant final opportunity with the following direction that the state government concerned would not force us to dwell upon the punitive or contempt jurisdiction of the tribunal," the green panel said.

The bench said it is unfortunate that various states and public authorities have failed to file status report regarding compliance of directions and orders on NGT's 'Mailey se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Plan 2017'.

"We certainly expect high priority by all state governments concerned with regard to execution of directions relating to cleaning and restoring of river Yamuna," it said, adding that it fails to understand as why the "authorities fail to act in coherence with one department writing a letter to other and shifting its burden".

The bench then passed a slew of directions and asked the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to consider lowering of sewage connection charge to every households especially in the unauthorised colonies.

The tribunal also asked the DJB to complete the remaining 22 per cent work of interceptor sewer ring at Najafgarh by March 2016 so as to ensure that water from drains is treated before being discharged into the Yamuna.

The bench also passed directions for completion of various Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) and speedy transfer of land to DJB for construction of such plants.

It also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to complete the floodplain demarcation work expeditiously. It further directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Uttar Pradesh government to submit list of structures and building in the floodplain areas of Yamuna.

The green panel asked the DDA and irrigation department to submit a report regarding recharging of the river and status of bio diversity park.

During the hearing, the bench was informed that out of the 44 missing drains which existed in the map of 1976, 26 drains have been traced at various locations.

The bench, however, directed the matter of missing drains be taken before principal committee constituted by the tribunal for execution of its direction of Yamuna revitalisation plan.

The tribunal observations came while monitoring the implementation of its "Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017" on a plea of Manoj Mishra.

It directed for day to day hearing of the case from Tuesday and asked the senior officials of all departments concerned to remain present during the hearing of the matter.

Earlier, on May 8, the tribunal had directed that every household in the city will pay a minimum environment compensation of Rs 100 for generating sewage.

It had clarified that the compensation in this regard would be directly proportional to the property tax or water bill whichever is higher and for those who reside in unauthorised colonies or not paying water bills, the amount would be in the range of Rs 100 to Rs 500.

The green panel had said that payment of "environmental compensation" shall be added to electricity bills, water bill and the property tax demand in order of preference by the respective departments which will transfer the money to Delhi government.