Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution of river Kothari, Bhilwara, Rajasthan, 15/03/2023
Order of the National Green Tribunal (Central Zone Bench, Bhopal) in the matter of Babulal Jajoo Vs State of Rajasthan & Others dated 15/03/2023.
The matter related to pollution of river Kothari, Bhilwara, Rajasthan. The city of Bhilwara, Rajasthan comes within the critically polluted area due to presence of various textile industries as well as heavy industries around the district.
The bench of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh observed that "the responses filed by the municipal council are tragic in nature wherein the municipal council expressed its inability in controlling river pollution and even its original work of collection of revenue is transferred to contractual agencies".
The counsel for the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board said that the authorities of Bhilwara municipal council "were reminded so many times for taking remedial actions for treatment of sewage and waste water as well as disposal of solid waste but no progress has been reported".
The SPCB revealed that an environmental compensation of Rs. 2.4 crore up to the period of October 31, 2021 was imposed on the municipal council and vide letter dated December 12, 2022 additional compensation was imposed to the tune of Rs. 111.45 lakh for the period of November, 2021 to June, 2022. Notices have not been replied by the municipal council, Bhilwara.
Further assessment of environmental compensation after June 2022 is under consideration before the SPCB.
The NGT directed the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board to proceed to recover the environmental compensation in accordance with law and to report by the next date (April 27, 2023).
The tribunal also expressed its disappointment with the state that even though Rs 400 crore has been granted for projects to alleviate the issue - projects have been delayed for more than two years.
The National Green Tribunal directed the Principal Secretary, Urban Development to monitor the issues personally and to ensure that there must be proper utilization of budget and the project under construction are completed within the stipulated time.
Principal Secretary, Urban Development is further directed to ensure that there shall not be any discharge of untreated water into the water bodies and there must be disposal of solid waste in accordance with rules. In case of violation of the environmental rules, "necessary punitive actions must be initiated against the erring officers".
Municipal Council, Bhilwara and the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board are directed to submit the further action taken and progress report before the next date of listing, which has been scheduled for April 27, 2023.