Complete district environment plans by Oct. 31: NGT

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed all States and Union Territories to complete the district environment plans (DEP) by October 31, while observing that there was a dire need for compilation of information on vital environmental issues and planning to address gaps in compliance.

A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said: “We hope that the Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories will provide due attention to the subject in the larger public interest of health, safety of the citizens and rule of law to effectuate basic fundamental rights of citizens.”

The NGT Bench specified that the DEP may contain data on each environmental issue covering each city, town and village and must reveal the extent of gap in compliance of relevant norms.

Review mechanism

“The DEP must give timelines for accomplishment of tasks backed up with budgetary support and the officers entrusted with the job, with contact details of the nodal officer at various levels in the district and scope for public participation on remedial measures like plantations. DEPs may also contain mechanism for review at different levels,” the Bench said.

The green panel also directed the District Magistrates to execute the action plans by reviewing progress on various targets, at least once a month.

“There seems to be a huge gap in responsibility entrusted to the authorities and action on the ground as shown by the reports. Damage to the environment is a criminal offence under various statutes. Deaths and diseases attributable to non-compliance of environmental norms cannot be disputed but adequate remedial action remains to be seen,” the Bench said.

Stating that the “unsatisfactory state of affairs” needed to be checked by involvement of senior functionaries in the government, the Tribunal added, “We hope the authorities will not fail the citizens. Remedies need to be provided at grass-root level with as high priority as opening of primary health centres or police stations for protection of basic right to clean environment.”

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 11:45:46 PM |

Next Story