Yamuna air pollution: NGT’s monitoring committee pulls up Haryana over not paying environmental compensation

Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 29

The National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s Yamuna Monitoring Committee (YMC) has passed strictures against Haryana government over not naming erring officers for the delay in setting up new Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and operational deficiencies in the existing ones, and not paying environmental compensation.

In its fifth report, submitted to the NGT, the YMC has pointed out that Haryana government has not complied to the directions of the NGT dated September 11, 2019.

The order had called for Rs 5 lakh per month per STP compensation to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for not able to fix operational deficiency within three months. Regarding the STPs under construction, it was ordered to deposit Rs 10 lakh per month per an incomplete STP after July 1 of this year along with Rs 10 lakh per month for discharging untreated effluent.

Also, with regard to the situation where works with regard to STP, sewerage network and its connectivity had not started, Haryana government was ordered to pay compensation at the rate of Rs 10 lakh per month per STP, sewerage network and its connectivity after December 31 of this year.

“It will be open to Govt. of Haryana to recover the said amount from erring officers/contractors,” the NGT had said.

The Chief Secretary was ordered to identify officials.

“We have held meetings and collected details from all stakeholder departments and have submitted comments to the Chief Secretary for final consideration. After that, a reply will be submitted on the report,” said S. Narayanan, Member Secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).

Now, in its fifth report, where a chapter is dedicated to lapses on the part of Haryana, the YMC says that 24 STPs, having 763.5 MLD capacity, in Yamunanagar, Panipat, Sonipat, Rohtak, Bahadurgarh, Gurugram, Faridabad and Palwal were randomly checked where 16 STPs, having 452.5 MLD capacity, were found not complying the standards; thus the complying status given by the government departments were incorrect.

It adds that “the officers of HSPCB being the regulatory authority are not performing their duty assigned under the Provision of Water Act, 1974/Environment Protection Act (EPA) 1986”.

On the same lines, 12 Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) were randomly checked and all were found non-complying.

“The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) is constructing the CETPs without considering the effluent characteristics of the industries operating in the Industrial Estate. This is the only reason for poor efficacy of the existing CETPs,” said the YMC.

It has been pointed out that 66 MLD untreated industrial and domestic effluent is being discharged from Jagadhri-Yamunanagar township to ditch drain for which neither the Municipal Corporation, Yamunanagar nor the Public Health Engineering Department is taking responsibility.

In Sonipat, none of four CETPs and three STPs is functioning properly. In Faridabad, there is no functional STP in the town; 210 MLD of untreated domestic effluent is being discharged to the Yamuna through Budia Nalaha and Gounchi Drain.

The construction work of seven CETPs at Faridabad, Gurugram and Yamunanagar have not yet started. 

Septage management in all major townships is not being followed; adding a significant amount of pollutants to the Yamuna through 11 major drains. The online monitoring devices for checking discharge of effluents are not calibrated regularly, thus do not reflect the actual status of treatment and HSPCB does not have any mechanism to verify the authenticity of data generated, says YMC.

The next date in NGT is on January 27.

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