Administration a failure in protecting citizens’ right to clean environment: NGT

A view of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

“Long stories of all-round failure of the administration are poor substitute for good governance required to enforce environmental rule of law for protection of public health and the environment,” observed the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal while considering the Brahmapuram case in January.

The Bench led by its chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel had said that the “fact remains that the administration is patently a failure in protecting citizens’ right to clean environment, which is in no way less important than the right to live in crime free environment”.

“There is no meaningful action for complying with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and handling of solid waste in spite of repeated directions in the last two years. As shown from the report by the State Pollution Control Board, the samples clearly show that the parameters of environment are not being met. The municipal corporation is still continuing unauthorised operations. Work is yet to start for biomining,” it said.

The Bench recalled that environment compensation for the failure to comply with its directives against those responsible for the situation has been assessed but not recovered. “Windrow composting plant is in dilapidated condition. The affidavit of the Chief Secretary does not show that any effective action has been taken on the ground. Thus, the situation is far from satisfactory,” it said.

The tribunal said that the “failure to uphold environmental rule of law is no different from maintaining law and order and protecting citizens against crimes. Continuing violation of environmental norms is not only violation of rights of citizens but also has the potential for causing damage to public health. “It is unfortunate that in spite of several orders of this Tribunal for the last two years, the concerned officers have only paid lip service to the issue. There is thus clear governance deficit which needs to be urgently remedied at appropriate highest level in the State,” it said.

The Principal Bench had transferred the case (OA No.514/2019) to the Southern Bench while directing that the case should be taken up on April 5.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 4:15:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/administration-a-failure-in-protecting-citizens-right-to-clean-environment-ngt/article34009766.ece

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