Tribunal bans throwing of debris into Yamuna

J. Venkatesan
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Costs to be collected for removing debris

The Yamuna in Delhi:Debris lying on the river bank.FILE Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
The Yamuna in Delhi:Debris lying on the river bank.FILE Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

With a view to cleaning the Yamuna, the National Green Tribunal on Thursday restrained any body, person or authority from throwing debris of any kind, including solid wastes, on the banks of the Yamuna or the water body near the grand old river.

A Full Bench of the Tribunal, comprising its Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, judicial member Justice P. Jyotimani and expert members D.K. Agrawal, G.K. Pandey and A.R. Yousuf, passed this order after hearing counsel for various parties.

The Bench said: “Since it is an admitted position that even private parties are throwing debris on the river bank, on the basis of the principle of ‘polluter pays’ it will be in the interest of justice that these authorities are directed to recover amounts spent for removal of debris which are thrown by the private persons, from them.

It said “persons” will include a company, partnership, sole proprietorship and individuals. All these authorities should exercise their statutory powers and not only preventing all persons throwing debris on the river bank, but even require them to pay for the purposes of removal of debris which are thrown by them. This shall be in the discretion of the authorities and will be implemented upon compliance with the principle of natural justice.

Earlier, counsel appearing for various authorities submitted that huge debris were lying on the river bank as well as near water bodies adjacent to the Yamuna. They said: “The debris is so huge that it is bound to affect the course of the river and in any case shall lead to serious pollution of the Yamuna, particularly during the rainy seasons.”

The Tribunal said in its order: “It is matter of common knowledge and in fact is hardly disputed before us that debris is being thrown on the river bank and it is a serious threat to the change of course as well as water pollution of the Yamuna. In these circumstance, we are of the considered view that certain directions need to be issued forthwith in order to ensure that pollution of Yamuna is prevented and the debris from the site are removed. Another aspect that we may notice here is that even municipal solid wastes are being thrown on the river bank and its water course. This also requires immediate preventive and precautionary directions.

Thus, the Bench said we order and issue the following directions: “The State of Uttar Pradesh, DDA, Government of NCT Delhi and East Delhi Municipal Corporation shall forthwith start removing debris from the river bank of Yamuna and the water body. It is stated that the above Corporation has already issued a notification where various dumping sites have been identified. One such site is stated to be at Gazipur, which is exclusively meant for dumping of municipal solid wastes. Thus, for the present, these authorities shall ensure that municipal solid wastes are removed from the river bank and said water bodies and dumped at the above site. The construction and other materials shall be removed to other identified sites. In the event no sites have been identified by any authority, we hereby direct all the Corporations and the DDA, State of Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to notify within two weeks from today the sites for dumping of debris. In the event of no site being available, as temporary measure all the above public Authorities/ Corporations and State of Uttar Pradesh shall start removing debris and bring them to the end of ‘highest flood level’ of river Yamuna. The stored debris shall be converted into a wall at that end point. In our considered opinion it would prevent unauthorised entry, flood and prevent pollution of the Yamuna. The lifting of debris shall start forthwith and all these authorities shall cooperate and work in tandem with each other to achieve the above object and ensure compliance of these directions. This Committee shall frame one time guidelines for ensuring the implementation of the above order.” The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on February 28.

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