NGT flays govt. apathy to Periyar pollution

Teh NGT Bench has said that it is the responsibility of the government to protect the interests of the people and find out ways to check pollution rivers.   | Photo Credit: File photo

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said that the State government cannot absolve itself of its responsibility of identifying land and extending financial assistance for setting up effluent and sewage treatment plants in local bodies located along the Periyar river aimed at checking pollution.

The Bench, comprising Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta, said that it was the responsibility of the government to protect the interests of the people and find out ways to raise funds for making the rivers pollution-free even if the Centre was not providing any assistance.

They cannot go back in discharging their responsibility of fulfilling the constitutional obligation on the ground of want of funds. Providing clean drinking water was a part of the right to life as provided under Article 21 of the Constitution, it said.

The Bench said that the government was yet to make any contribution to setting up the effluent treatment plants.

If the local bodies did not have the funds, it was the responsibility on the State government to find a solution.

Ncessary treatment plants had to be provided for the purpose of avoiding untreated sewage or effluents being discharged into the river, which was the major cause for pollution of the rivers, the Bench said.

The government/district administration would have to identify and acquire the land for establishing the effluent and sewage treatment plants, wherever it was required and the health of the people had to be protected by the State, it said.

The Bench criticised the government for spending huge amounts for preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) for remediation of the Periyar and its streams including the Kuzhikandamthodu, Panachithodu, Pallipuramchal and Unthithodu.

It was quite unfortunate that a huge amount had been earmarked for the preparation of the DPR.

The expenditure required for the remediation process was less than the cost incurred for preparing the detailed project report, it said.

The tribunal asked the Chief Secretary and Secretaries to the Departments of Local Self Government and Irrigation to initiate steps to provide necessary financial assistance and help for implementing the remedial measures suggested by the committee constituted to look into the pollution of the Periyar.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 11:50:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ngt-flays-govt-apathy-to-periyar-pollution/article32726342.ece

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