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NGT Imposes a Fine of Rs 12000 Crore on the Maharashtra Government

A fine has been imposed to remedy the continuing damage to the environment

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 12,000 crore on the Maharashtra Government as environmental compensation on charges of improper management of solid and liquid waste.

The fine was imposed for failure to comply with the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and other norms arising out of directions given by the Supreme Court in writ petitions ( No. 888/1996 and 375/2012) requiring the tribunal to monitor enforcement of solid and liquid waste management norms.

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On Thursday, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and comprising Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member Prof. Senthil Vel held that the compensation under Section 15 of the NGT Act was necessary to remedy the continuing damage to the environment caused due to the shortcomings in waste management.

Without fixing quantified liability necessary for restoration, the mere passing of orders has not shown any tangible results in the last eight years (for solid waste management) and five years (for liquid waste management), even after the expiry of statutory or laid-down timelines. Continuing damage is required to be prevented in the future and past damage is to be restored, the tribunal said.

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The NGT determined the compensation in respect of the gap in the treatment of liquid waste (5420.33 MLD) to be about Rs. 10,840 crores and in respect of un-remediated legacy waste to be around Rs. 1,200 crores. The aged municipal solid waste lying in dumpsites is typically referred to as legacy waste.

The NGT rounded the amount off to Rs. 12,000 crores and directed the Maharashtra Government to deposit the same in a separate ring-fenced account within two months. The account will be operated as per the directions of the Chief Secretary and utilised for restoration measures.

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The restoration measures for sewage management would include establishing sewage treatment and utilisation systems, upgrading systems/operations to ensure full capacity utilization, ensuring compliance with standards, including those for faecal coliform, and establishing proper faecal sewage and sludge management in rural areas.

In terms of solid waste management, the action plan involves the establishment of required waste processing units as well as the rehabilitation of 84 sites that have been overlooked.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) regulations must be followed when performing bioremediation or bio-mining, and the stabilised organic waste produced by bio-mining and composting facilities must adhere to predetermined standards.

Other materials recovered during such processes are to be put to use through authorized dealers/handlers/users. This restoration plan needs to be planned and executed in a time-bound manner without further delay. If violations continue, liability to impose additional compensation may have to be considered.

Directions for further follow-up

The Chief Secretary may submit progress reports every six months, along with a copy to the NGT Registrar General. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the Union Ministry of Urban Development, the CPCB, as well as the State Government’s website, will all receive copies.

Video conferencing

The NGT heard the matter via video conferencing. The Maharashtra Chief Secretary, Manu Kumar Shrivastava, Principal Secretary, Environment Dept., Manisha Mhaiskar, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Dept., Dr. Sonia Sethi, BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner P. Velarasu, Pune Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) Member Secretary Ashok Shingare, Director, Swacch Maharashtra, Sameer Unahale, and others attended.

Also Read: Maharashtra Political Crisis: SC Adjourns the Matter to September 27

Author

  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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