Greater Noida: NGT asks authorities to end water pollution in urban villages

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Greater Noida authority, agencies monitoring pollution and the Gautam Budh Nagar administration to look into the issues of water pollution plaguing the urban villages in Greater Noida and take remedial steps to address the matter.

The move comes after an environmentalist, advocate Akash Vashishtha, filed a plea before the NGT. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 provisions are being violated by the Greater Noida authority, thereby contaminating the ground water and creating health issues, alleged the petitioner.

“In view of above, let a joint committee of CPCB, state pollution control board, the Greater Noida authority, district magistrate Gautam Budh Nagar and secretary, urban development of UP, look into the matter and take remedial action,” said a bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member Dr. Nagin Nanda in an order delivered on January 4. The case will be heard again on April 8.

The NGT said that the CPCB and the UPPCB will be the nodal agencies for compliance and coordination. “The committee may meet within two weeks, undertake visit to the site, interact with the stakeholders and ascertain the action plan for remedial action, if any. The action plan may cover septage management, sewerage plant with STP(s). The Committee may also identify the authorities responsible for the failure and action to be taken against the violators or erring authorities,” said the order.

In 1992, the Uttar Pradesh government established the Greater Noida authority with an aim to acquire agricultural land from farmers, develop it and allot the same for residential, industrial and other urban schemes.

Spread on 38,000 hectares of land between Noida and Dadri, Greater Noida was developed by roping in land from at least 93 villages. Currently, no urban village sewer is connected to the sewage treatment plant for treatment. As a result, the sewage goes untreated into village ponds or spills over internal roads of rural areas, thereby polluting waterbodies and posing health risks to villagers.

“The Greater Noida authority is yet to lay the storm water drains and sewer network in at least 93 villages. As a result, we are failing to conserve rain water and also letting untreated sewage seep into the ground water table and pollute the source of drinking water. The villages are full of filth and untreated sewer causing several health issues,” said Vashishtha.

The petitioner alleged that the authorities are not paying heed to their demands with regard to water needs and protection of natural resources.

The NGT observed that “The above averments depict unsatisfactory state of affairs and rampant violation of provisions of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and “Public Trust Doctrine” laid down in M.C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath, (1997) 1 SCC 388. There is also failure of the authorities to enforce citizens’ right to clean environment and the principle of sustainable development.”

Officials from the Gautam Budh Nagar administration, the Greater Noida authority and other agencies said they will do the needful as per the NGT order and take steps appropriately.

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