NGT sets up Central monitoring panel

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a Central Monitoring Committee to ensure the implementation of action plan meant for reducing pollution stretches across the country.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “Having given due consideration to the serious issue and inadequacy of success achieved so far, we find it necessary to constitute a Central Monitoring Committee to undertake a national initiative by way of preparation and enforcement of a national plan to make river stretches pollution-free.”

Senior representatives of NITI Aayog, Secretaries of the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will be a part of the panel, apart from the Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board and Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga.

The panel will coordinate with States to oversee the action plans and ensure execution of the same.

Additionally, the Union Environment Ministry was directed to consider a policy for giving “environmental awards” to institutions and States that comply with orders and ensure reduction in pollution. The MoEF&CC has been asked to consider introducing “disincentives for non-compliant States.”

“Such a scheme may be framed preferably before June 30,” the Bench said.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a report published in The Hindu , pertaining to the increasing polluted river stretches across the country, the Tribunal had initiated proceedings.

The CPCB, along with the respective State pollution control boards and pollution control committees, was directed to launch a nationwide programme on biodiversity monitoring and indexing of the rivers to “assess the efficacy of river cleaning programmes.”

“Further, for the safety of human health and maintaining sanctity of the rivers, regular hygienic surveys of the rivers should be carried out with reference to fecal coliform and fecal streptoccoi, as indicated in the primary water quality criteria for bathing water,” the Bench said.