NGT directs Delhi chief secy to take action over failure to maintain sewer channel at Saket Court

NGT directs Delhi chief secy to take action over failure to maintain sewer channel at Saket Court
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New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi chief secretary to take cognisance of a plea against failure to maintain the sewer channel adjacent to the Saket Court here.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also requested the District and Sessions Judge (South) Saket to call a meeting on the administrative side of the local departments concerned for remedial action in the matter.

The State authorities are under obligation to provide pollution free environment which is part of the right to life. Discharge of untreated sewage into a water body is a criminal offence under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 as well as under the Indian Penal Code, the bench said.

The green panel said the issue raised in this application stands covered by its earlier order and monitoring mechanism under the Chief Secretary/Additional Chief Secretary Urban Development, Delhi, is in place. Thus, what remains is the execution, it added.

Instead of repeating the directions already passed in the said order, we direct Chief Secretary, Delhi to take cognisance of the problem highlighted in the application in course of monitoring of the control of pollution in the drains in Delhi for rejuvenation of Yamuna.

Since the applicant is a Bar Association, counsel for the applicants fairly stated that they will contribute to the solution in an appropriate manner which may be considered in any manner found helpful, the tribunal said.

Among other solutions, planting of trees on both sides of the drain as a safeguard against foul smell may also be explored, it said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Saket Bar Association against failure to maintain the sewer channel adjacent to Gate No. 1 and 2 of the Saket Court by the Delhi government, the Public Works Department (PWD) of Delhi and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

The case set out in the application is that the petitioner is Saket Bar Association and represents 12,000 members and other residents who are affected by failure of the authorities in maintaining the sewer channel in question.

The channel is clogged, affecting the environment and the public health, the plea said adding the Delhi chief minister was approached in 2018 but no action was taken.

As per NGT orders, drains cannot be covered but have to be duly maintained so as to control the air/water pollution, the plea said.

There is an SOP for cleaning the sewers, drains and septic tanks but the PWD of Delhi has failed to follow the same. At some places, sewer channel has been covered but the open drain, without proper maintenance is a source of foul smell and noxious gases, the petition said.