The National Green Tribunal on Thursday took Uttar Pradesh government and civic authorities to task for dilly-dallying on collection and disposal of municipal waste in Gorakhpur district, saying they “cannot play with the health of people.”
“What are you people doing for the last 25 years? We are only concerned with environment. You cannot play with the health of people like this. What does governance mean? It is to resolve difficulties of the people. We have enough laws in place. Can you name a single district in the your state which is pollution-free,” a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar asked Uttar Pradesh government.
The green panel also pulled up Gorakhpur Divisional Commissioner for not appearing before the bench despite the orders of the Tribunal.
When the counsel for Gorakhpur Nagar Nigam tried to explain that the state election commission has assigned him duty till November 1, the bench expressed its displeasure saying, “no election commission can give direction to violate the orders of any court or Tribunal.”
“In the history of India, no election commission has ever given order to violate a judicial order. Ask him to be here on October 13,” the bench said.
The observations came after counsel appearing for the Gorakhpur Nagar Nigam told the bench that it was planning to construct three sewage treatment plants of 66 MLD each and it has written to the Centre to finance Rs 350 crore required for the plant under the Namami Gange project.
He also informed the bench that two STPs were already functional in the district to treat the waste before they are discharged in the river.
“It is your responsibility to provide clean environment. This is total mismanagement. The plant should either be funded by the district or the state government. We had asked you to invoke polluter pays principle, you didn’t do it,” the bench said.