The National Green Tribunal invokes Polluter Pays principle; any person found dumping debris on the river bank to cough up Rs. 5 lakh

If you pollute the Yamuna or dump debris on the river bank, get ready to pay. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday invoked the “Polluter Pays” principle to deal with the problem of pollution and dumping of debris on the Yamuna bank.

The NGT order said any person found dumping debris on the river bank at the Geeta Colony site or any other site will have to cough up Rs. 5 lakh for causing pollution. The offender will also have to remove the debris.

The tribunal order came on a petition filed by Manoj Misra of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, which has opposed the dumping of debris and construction waste on the banks of the river.

“The fine so imposed shall be recovered from the person who is responsible for dumping of debris i.e., truck owner as well as person to whom the debris belongs i.e., by whose property demolition the debris have been created. Even the contractor who is carrying on the business of dumping of debris shall be equally responsible,” the NGT bench headed by Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said in its order.

In addition, the tribunal has directed all concerned authorities, including the Delhi Development Authority, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to ensure that all debris at the Geeta Colony area is removed by August 15.

Noting that there is a dispute between the DDA and the Delhi Metro regarding nearly 5,000 tons of debris on the western banks of the river, the tribunal directed the heads of both authorities to hold a meeting within a week to mutually decide who is responsible for the removal of the debris.

“We direct the NCT of Delhi to deploy special police force to ensure due vigilance, particularly at the Geeta Colony site, to ensure that no debris is dumped on the river bank of the Yamuna,” the order said.

The tribunal directed all public authorities, particularly the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, to depute its staff to ensure that no debris is dumped at Geeta Colony.

The tribunal allowed more time to the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests to constitute an expert committee to finalise the Yamuna preservation and beautification plan.

The NGT directed the ministry submit the report before the next date of hearing on July 27.

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