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NGT asks officials to meet, answer queries on Ganga river issue

NEW DELHI, Feb 28: The National Green Tribunal today directed officials from the pollution control boards and agencies of the Centre and Uttar Pradesh to be present in the court tomorrow to respond to its queries on sewage discharged from Kanpur drains into the Ganges.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the officers from Ministries of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Water Resources (MoWR), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), UP pollution control board (UPPCB) and UP Jal Nigam to meet in his court over the release of waste into the river.
“We direct MoEF, MoWR, CPCB, state pollution control board, municipal body concerned to meet in court no. 1 of NGT. All the officers and their counsel have to participate in the meeting and answer our queries,” the bench said.
The green panel directed them to inform it about the total discharge of sewage and other from Kanpur in the drains which join river Ganga and also provide the status of sewage treatment plants as proposed by National Ganga River Basin Authority and other schemes.
The tribunal asked all the parties to be ready with the answers and posted the matter for hearing on March 1.
Yesterday, the green tribunal was told by an experts’ panel that the functional sewage treatment plants in the Garhmukteshwar area of UP do not operate as the domestic sewage network is not connected to the main sewerage system.
A three-member committee set up by the NGT had also informed that the Garhmukteshwar stretch of the Ganga should receive special attention as it was the habitat of the critically-endangered Gangetic Dolphin, an indicator species for the river’s ecosystem.
The panel had told the NGT that state government needs to put in place an effective system to ensure the integration of the household sewage with the main sewerage system.
“Unless this is done, we will be in a situation where a sewerage system is in place, the STP has been made operational and yet not a drop of sewage is treated simply because there is lack of connectivity between the different components,” it had said, adding there was a need for immediate and time bound action to ensure effecive cleaning of the river.
The committee comprising a Director from Ministry of Water Resources, a scientist from the CPCB and advocate and local commisioner Ritwick Dutta, which was set upto inspect status of sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Garhmukteshwar, had also sought direction to the concerned agencies to present action plan and progress of implementation of programme for the protection of Gangetic Dolphin.
The panel had also told the NGT that the STP at Brijghat drain in Garhmukteshwar has been made operational, but it was not functional as no untreated sewage was being supplied to the STP and as a result the entire facility is lying idle. (PTI)

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