Act against industries polluting Ganga, SC tells Green Tribunal

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rapped the pollution control boards for not standing up against Industrial units having strong monetary and political influence polluting the Ganga. File photo: Ranjeet Kumar  

Observing that its “last hope” rests in the National Green Tribunal, the Supreme Court referred to it the responsibility to monitor and inspect industrial units along river Ganga and even cut off their water and power connections if they are found to be polluting the river.

A three-judge Bench led by Justice T.S. Thakur said official apathy and “failure at various levels” within both the State and Central Pollution Control Board had led to the river dying at the hands of “highly” and “grossly” polluting units, who flush their untreated effluents into the river without any checks.

The inaction had continued even after numerous orders were passed by the Supreme Court directing authorities to protect the river since the 1980s when a PIL was filed before the court by lawyer M.C. Mehta highlighting the alarming state of the river and its depletion owing to pollution.

Describing the Ganga as a river held in high esteem and one which is unlike the other rivers in the country, the court observed in its detailed order that it is “our duty to ensure purification of the river”.

“There is no gainsaying that river has significance not only in religious and spiritual psyche of the people but it is also a lifeline of people,” the Bench, also comprising Justices A.K. Goel and R. Banumathi, observed.

It said the river has suffered from the “institutional failure” of the authorities to protect it from the industrial units mushrooming on the river banks.

Justice Thakur slammed how the statutory authorities meant to protect the river did “nothing” against the polluting industries.

“You should have stood up to these people who have both money power and resources, otherwise how will you prevent the river from being polluted?” Justice Thakur asked Solicitior General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre.

“Your story is a complete story of failure, frustration and disaster. You need to stand up against the polluting units. It will take another 50 years if the task is left to you,” Justice Thakur observed.

The court has asked the tribunal to file a status report every six months on actions taken to control industrial pollution. It posted the case for further hearing on December 10 to pass further orders to curb domestic effluents.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 8:03:41 PM |

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