The National Green Tribunal Monday rapped National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) over its failure to control pollutants entering river Ganga and other water bodies saying its report does not show any meaningful action. The green panel said NMCG report merely refers to certain meetings and field visits by the officials of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
However, there is no mention of compliance of law and rigorous steps which are expected against law violators when violations are rampant and patent, it said.
The implementation timelines are unsustainably long which are in complete defiance of orders of the Supreme Court and the seriousness of the problems, the NGT said.
"The Water Act was enacted 46 years ago and still discharge of pollution is taking place with impunity and inaction and tolerance by monitoring and statutory authorities has led to total lawlessness.
"Clear direction of the Supreme Court requiring prosecution of the erring officers and orders of this Tribunal requiring recovery of compensation on “Polluter Pays” principle continue to be flagrantly violated," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said.
The tribunal reiterated its last year order directing 100 per cent treatment of sewage entering the rivers across the country.
It directed the Central Pollution Control Board and Secretary in Ministry of Jal Shakti to monitor that no pollution is discharged in water bodies and any violation by local bodies or private persons are dealt with as per mandate of law without any deviation from timelines.
"The higher authorities must record failures in ACRs as already directed and recover compensation as per laid down scale. Every State/UT in the first instance must ensure that at least one polluted river stretch in each category is restored so as to meet all water quality standards upto bathing level. This may serve as a model for restoring the remaining stretches," the bench said.
The NGT said the constant difficulty faced by it in monitoring abatement of pollution in Ganga and other polluted rivers remains failure of States and pollution control boards to enforce its orders.
The green panel had earlier warned that if this is not done, the local bodies and concerned departments of the states and Union Territories (UTs) will be liable to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh a month per drain in the case of river Ganga and Rs 5 lakh for default in commencement of setting up of sewage treatment plant.
The NGT had earlier formed a Central Monitoring Committee to prepare and enforce a national plan to make over 350 river stretches across the country pollution-free.
The tribunal had said that there has been a deterioration in the quality of water in rivers in spite of the Water Act which was enacted way back in 1974 which was intended to bring about improvement.
The tribunal''s direction came after taking note of a news item in the national daily, ''The Hindu'' under the heading "More river stretches are now critically polluted: CPCB".
According to the news item, 351 polluted river stretches have been noted by the CPCB and 117 such stretches are in the states of Assam, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. The CPCB has apprised the concerned states of the extent of pollution in the rivers.