SC asks NGT to deal with industries polluting Ganga

New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS)┬áThe Supreme Court Wednesday asked the National Green Tribunal to proceed against the grossly polluting industries discharging their untreated effluent into the drains flowing into River Ganga, as it took a dim view of the central and state pollution control panels’ lackadaisical approach in hauling up these units.

Asking the NGT to discipline these polluting industries in Ganga basin states, a bench of Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice R. Banumathi in their order said that the national tribunal on environmental matters had ample powers to deal with the matter effectively.

The NGT could take the assistance of experts in dealing with the problem, it said.

The option before the polluting industries is either to fall in line and comply with the court’s orders or fold up. The court has given time till March 31, 2015, for these industries to set up effluent treatment plant for treating their industrial waste.

The polluting industries identified by the court included pharmaceutical, inorganic or organic fertiliser industries, oil refineries, pesticides, distilleries, sugar, pulp and paper, bleaching, dying and textiles, tannery, food and dairy, power, cement, automotive, and locomotive plants including paint industries.

“These are the units that have to be dealt with by the NGT,” the court said.

Referring to the CAG report, the court said that the national auditor’s report is a clear indictment of the powers that be and the working of the state pollution control boards.

“We regret to say that the intervention of this court, notwithstanding and the sustained efforts made by us (the court) for the past 30 years there has been no fruitful results except for shutting down of some of the industries.

“This is largely because our orders have remained in the hands of CPCB/SPCBs (central/state pollution control board) practically nothing has been done to effectively implement our decisions or to take steps. Total lack of efforts on the part of the statutory bodies have also contributed to the state of affairs,” the court said in its order.

Underlying that it was the duty of everyone to keep Ganga clean – the life line of the people, the court said: “There is no gainsaying that the river has significance not only in religious and spiritual psyche of the people but it is also a lifeline of people.”

Directing the further hearing of the matter Dec 10, the court asked the NGT to report to it after every six months on the progress made in checking polluting industries in Ganga basin states.

Making it clear that it was “not washing hands” of the matter”, the court said: “We consider it is difficult to monitor day to day implementation of its orders.”

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