National Green Tribunal

National Green Tribunal: In an original application based on a letter, wherein, Jal Nigam was alleged of causing environmental pollution while digging a drain by the side of Deoria – Kheera Ram Road, Arun Kumar Tyagi (Judicial Member) and Dr. Afroz Ahmad (Expert Member) gave various directions in the matter.

In the present matter, the earth was being excavated for digging a drain in violation of environmental norms, which caused dust pollution. This resulted in people being unable to breathe properly. The agency neither used a protective net nor sprinkled water. After the trees had been cut, no compensatory afforestation was done.

Vide order dated 31-07-2023, the Tribunal constituted a joint committee comprising of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and District Magistrate, Deoria to verify the factual position, and take remedial action and submit the report within one month.

The Tribunal noted that the structure of the drain was wholly inappropriate for the purpose that it was being constructed and directed for the filing of the action report along with the study report of IIT, Kanpur, on basis of which the drain was being built. The Tribunal directed that work may be continued without any further concretization of the drain until further orders are passed.

The Tribunal noticed that the report submitted by District Magistrate, Deoria clearly indicated that it had been prepared by a private agency and not by IIT Kanpur, signed by a Professor of IIT Kanpur in his personal capacity and could not be construed as the report of IIT Kanpur. A report was filed in compliance with a direction to file additional reports regarding operational status of the drains already existing.

The Tribunal pointed out that the geo-physical setting of the Deoria city results in serious water logging during monsoon as it is located in Gangetic plain predominated by sandy loam soil which is susceptible to seepage. The Tribunal viewed that the project scheme of storm water drainage as designed/planned in Deoria for the control of water logging problems should be undertaken. The Tribunal gave the following directions which are to be strictly complied with:

  1. The excavated soil needs to be stored on a designated place to avoid its spread on road and prevent dust pollution.

  2. The water tankers should be in place for spraying water on the affected areas to prevent dust from being airborne.

  3. Steel sheets should be used on both sides of drain during soil excavation to prevent spread of dust in the area.

  4. The compensatory afforestation in lieu of 58 road side trees permitted for removal/denudation by Forest Department should be undertaken by DFO, Deoria with the amount of Rs. 10.47 lakh already allocated for the purpose. The compensatory afforestation with native species needs to be done with the objective to develop a small biodiversity park at appropriate location in the area.

  5. The plantation on both the banks of the storm water drain should be carried out by suitable grasses, shrubs and native trees including bamboo for the protection of banks from erosion and enhancing aesthetic/scenic value of the drain. The DFO, Deoria is made nodal officer for this task and U.P State Jal Nigam is directed to provide necessary funds to DFO, Deoria for this purpose within one month of the demand raised by him.

  6. There should be foolproof mechanism to prevent mixing of municipal sewage into the storm water. The Regional Officer, Gorakhpur and Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Deoria are directed to ensure regular monitoring in this regard.

[Nirmal Kumar Tripathi v. State of U.P., 2024 SCC OnLine NGT 261, Decided on 09-04-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Respondents – Advocate Bhanwar Pal Singh Jadon; Advocate Hardik Saxena; Advocate Ankit Verma; Advocate Arvind Kumar;

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