Tue, 21 Mar 2023

New Delhi [India], January 28 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal has refrained from levying environmental compensation of Rs 1,000 crore on the Assam Government and Rs 1,138 crore on the Odisha government for the improper management of solid as well as liquid waste.

The Tribunal headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel decided to refrain from levying Environment Compensation (EC) after noting that the Government is allocating a higher amount and will soon be credited to a separate ring-fenced account for the purposes.

In view of the undertaking given by the chief secretaries of Odisha and Assam state Governments, we refrain from levying EC on the State of Odisha and Assam for time being and the ring-fenced account will be non-lapsable, said the Tribunal.

In the matter of Assam, the tribunal noted that Chief Secretary Assam fairly accepts that there is a gap of about 435 MLD in sewage generation and treatment and legacy waste of 33 Lakh MT. In normal circumstances, the State would be liable to pay compensation of about Rs 1000 crore at the scale of compensation fixed in other States. However, it is stated in Assam higher amount stands allocated and Rs 1043 crore will be soon credited to a separate ring-fenced account for the purpose.

In the matter of Odisha, the Tribunal noted that the Chief Secretary, Odisha fairly accepts that there is a gap of about 514 MLD in sewage generation and treatment and legacy waste of 37 Lakh MT.

In normal circumstances, the State would be liable to pay compensation of about Rs 1,138 crore at the scale of compensation fixed in other States. However, it is stated in Odisha higher amount stands allocated and Rs 1,152 crore will soon be credited to a separate ring-fenced account for the purposeThe tribunal also said we hope in the light of interaction with the Chief Secretaries, the said States will take further measures in the matter by an innovative approach and stringent monitoring, ensuring that gaps in solid and liquid waste generation and treatment are bridged at the earliest, shortening the proposed timelines, adopting alternative/interim measures to the extent and wherever found viable.

Earlier, while awarded Environment Compensation in several states, the NGT had said that "award of compensation has become necessary under section 15 of the NGT Act to remedy the continuing damage to the environment and to comply with directions of the Supreme Court requiring this Tribunal to monitor enforcement of norms for solid and liquid waste management.

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

The directions were passed by the Green court while examining the issues of solid as well as liquid waste management as per orders of the Supreme Court order dated 02.09.2014 with regard to solid waste management and order dated 22.02.2017 with regard to liquid waste management. (ANI)

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