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"Clear Failure Of Authorities In Upholding Citizens' Right To Clean Environment": NGT Pulls Up Haryana State For Sewage Overflow On National Highway

Nupur Thapliyal
14 July 2021 3:53 AM GMT
NGT Polluter Pays Principle
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The National Green Tribunal has pulled up the State of Haryana for its failure to take remedial measures for controlling sewage overflow on National Highway-19 after observing that the State authorities had failed in upholding citizen's right to clean environment.

The Tribunal was dealing with a case regarding overflowing of sewage from Seekri village in Faridabad District in Haryana on the service road and on the stretch of Delhi – Agra Highway.

A bench headed by Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel granted one last opportunity to the State for taking appropriate remedial actions within three months.

"It is seen that the progress in the matter can hardly be held to be satisfactory. The overflowing of sewage from the village depicted a clear failure of the authorities in upholding the right of the citizens to clean and safe environment." The Tribunal said.

Furthermore, it said:

"No prohibition against award of work to a single tenderer has been brought to our notice. There is also no prohibition of the work of such an urgent nature being executed departmentally. Further, giving of long timelines, without any firm commitment is also a matter of concern and failure of the concerned authorities in the matter. Thus, a case is made out for taking coercive measures against the concerned officers for such serious failure and attitude."

The development came after a status report was submitted on behalf of the State Pollution Control Board on 5th July 2021 stating that necessary funds have been sanctioned by the Additional Chief Secretary, Development and Panchayat Department, Haryana and that a Tender has been floated regarding the same. It was also informed that the work is likely to be completed by 31st March next year.

On pursuing the status report, the Tribunal said:

"It is difficult to accept that for one and a half year even the issue of tender could not be finalised, even though matter is of such great urgency. The plea that there was a single tender or no person was available to execute the work shows lack of awareness about the concern for environment."

"There is also no prohibition of the work of such an urgent nature being executed departmentally. Further, giving of long timelines, without any firm commitment is also a matter of concern and failure of the concerned authorities in the matter." It said.

The Court also directed Additional Chief Secretary, Development and Panchayat Department, Haryana to remain present in person with compliance status on the next date which is 7th December 2021.

Title: News item published in "The Hindu" Authored by Ashok Kumar titled "Overflowing sewage on National Highway-19 sparks safety concerns"

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