The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a penalty of ₹25 lakh each on the States of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal for not taking adequate steps to curb pollution in the river Ganga.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel observed that while in Bihar there was no progress in terms of completion of sewage treatment infrastructure projects, in West Bengal only three out of the 22 projects had been completed.
“The States of West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand are not represented in spite of orders of this Tribunal by which we recorded strong disapproval to such attitude of the said States. Such insensitivity in a serious matter is a matter of concern,” the Bench observed.
“We direct the [three] States to deposit ₹25 lakh each by way of interim compensation for continued damage to Ganga and inaction of the said States even in responding to this Tribunal…”
The States were directed to deposit the penalty within a month with the Central Pollution Control Board, and the amount “may be spent on restoration of the environment.” Noting that the discharge of effluents is an offence, the green panel directed the Uttar Pradesh government to prohibit industrial activity that resulted in pollution. “The U.P. Chief Secretary may personally monitor and ensure zero tolerance approach to the pollution of the Ganga,” the Bench said.