In a major intervention ahead of monsoon, the National Green Tribunal has constituted a joint committee, comprising of NCR Planning Board, Central Pollution Control Board, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, District Magistrate and Nagar Nigam to furnish a factual and action taken report on the lining, covering and concretization of storm water drains in Navyug Market, Ghaziabad, within 2 months.
The order was passed by Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Sudhir Agarwal (Judicial Member) and Prof. A. Senthil Vel (Expert Member) in an application moved by one Manoj Bansal, against concretization of storm water drain in the area.
Navyug market is one of the biggest commercial areas in Ghaziabad that has been witnessing heavy waterlogging and urban flooding for last several years. The applicant submitted that the entire storm water drain, from and in front of 01 Navyug Market to 33 Navyug Market was being completely lined, covered and concretized by the Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam and remains perpetually stuffed with solid wastes. The said storm water drain which originally carried only the surface run-off during rainfall, now transported only sewage, wastewater and effluents.
Akash Vashishtha, counsel for the applicant, submitted that covering, lining and/or concretization of the storm water drain in Navyug Market or any other area permits polluting matter in the stream and tends to impede the proper flow of water which aggravates pollution. This, he stated, was in violation of Section 24 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Orders passed by the NGT in Manoj Misra Vs. Union of India & Ors. (2015) and Shri Hazi Ariff Vs. State of U.P. & Ors. (2022) that expressly directed authorities to not cover or concretize any storm water drain.
The applicant further argued that in covering a natural storm water drain, the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board had causes water logging and urban flooding, preventing natural groundwater recharge, eliminating biodiversity, and aggravating the sewage/effluent pollution by obstructing its flow and maintenance and ultimately, had failed to perform its duties under Section 17(1) of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
In view of the above, the NGT constituted the aforesaid joint committee with State PCB acting as the nodal agency. It directed that the joint Committee may also verify whether any work is still going on in violation of law and if it is found that any such work is still going on, the same may be stopped.
Matter will next be considered on September 28.
CASE TITLE: Manoj Bansal v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors.