GSPCB submits draft river rejuvenation plan to CPCB
The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has forwarded the draft action plan on river rejuvenation to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for its approval in the first week of February.
This has been done in compliance with the last opportunity given by the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the state pollution control boards to prepare such a plan by January 31.
The draft action plan includes components like identification of polluting sources including the functioning/status of STPs/ETPs/CETP and solid waste management and processing facilities, quantification and characterisation of solid waste and trade and sewage generated in the catchment areas of polluted river stretches.
The GSPCB has also forwarded the report of water quality of the river stretches and the categorisation including the level and degree of treatment required to maintain or restore all the natural water bodies.
The four-member bench headed by NGT chairperson A K Goel, in its last order on December 19, had termed the approach of various state pollution control boards as insensitive to river rejuvenation and provided as a last opportunity the date January 31 for preparation of action plans and levied environmental compensation between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1 crore on state governments for every delay.
“We are informed that out of 29 states and 7 Union territories (UTs), a total of 16 states/UTs have prepared the draft action plans and 15 have failed to do so. The said states and UTs have not even taken the first requisite step of preparing an action plan, showing total insensitivity to such a serious matter and public issue,” the NGT order reads.
The NGT observed that in case of 16 states/UTs which have prepared the action plans, the plans are found to be incomplete and not including any baseline data. Details of STPs are also not provided, timelines provided are too long and status of e-flow has not been provided, the NGT observed.
The NGT said that it was left with no option but to take coercive action. According to the NGT, further failure in preparation of action plans will lead to fine being levied for damage to the environment which will be payable by chief secretaries of the states/administrators of the UTs at the rate of Rs one crore per delay for each polluted river stretches.
“The compensation for damage to the environment will be payable by each of the states for every delay Rs one crore per month for each of the priority-I and Priority-II stretches, Rs 50 lakh per month for stretches in Priority-III and Rs 25 lakh per month each for Priority-IV and Priority-V stretches,” it said.
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