NGT issues directions on environmental threat being caused to Rabindra Sarobar Lake

National Green Tribunal: The Bench of Justice S.P. Wangdi, JM and Prof. (Dr.) P.C. Mishra, EM, issued directions on the concern raised by Mr. Subhas Datta, a social and environment activist, on the threat being caused to Rabindra Sarobar Lake, Kolkata and its surroundings. The reasons for this concern were the football matches and other varied social activities being performed around the lake. Major threat to ecology and rich bio diversity, were the primary reasons why the lake was also included in the National Conservation Programme (NSP) and National Lake Conservation Plans (NSCP) of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The recent event of Indian Super League (ISL), the football tournament raised an immediate concern on the environment, biodiversity of lake area, air and noise pollution, for which NGT directed to constitute a five-member Expert committee consisting of eminent scientists and engineers for examining the impact of such tournaments on the lake. Following the stated facts, the expert committee placed its report saying that these matches should be subject to regulations after conducting a detailed study on Environment Impact Assessment.

Mr. Datta had also in an earlier application produced evidence and stated facts in regard to the precarious conditions of River Mahananda, for which various directions were issued for the organization of Chhat puja with no damage to river ecosystem.

Considering the order dated 3-11-2016 in O.A. 136/2015/EZ, Chatt puja was permitted subject to various conditions, as the report of the expert committee had clearly recommended that no such events in the lake premises should be held.

Considering the report of the Expert Committee, following directions were issued:

· KMDA, the custodian of the Rabindra Sarobar Lake shall prepare a DPR for the implementation of the recommendations under “Flora and Fauna, water quality and lake sediments.

· Night time matches/ tournaments shall be strictly prohibited in the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium.

· Performance of any social event such as puja, picnic etc. shall be prohibited strictly.

· No new construction or extension of existing building without leave of the tribunal.

· KMDA Shall introduce nominal fee or entry to the lake with provision of free entry to morning and evening walkers.

· Proper gudelies to be established by KMDA for the operation of clubs.

· West Bengal State Pollution Control Board, is also directed to constitute an editorial committee for editing the EIA report submitted by the expert committee. [Subhas Datta v. State of W.B., 2017 SCC OnLine NGT 780, order dated 15.11.2017]

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