Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 17
The local Municipal Corporation will face penalty if it fails to upgrade its sewage treatment plants (STPs). While discussing steps and the action-taken report presented by officers for reducing pollution in the Ghaggar, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the officers to upgrade the STPs so that they can meet the prescribed norms. While the MC has almost plugged the leakage points in the Sukhna and the N choe, it has failed to upgrade the STPs. The effluent discharge of four of its five STPs falls into tributaries of the Ghaggar. In a recent report prepared by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee, the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) level was found higher than the permissible level.
Sources said a panel formed by the NGT, headed by Justice Pritam Pal, a former Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had also, in its report, mentioned shortcomings in the functioning of three STPs. The NGT had formed the panel to check pollution in the Ghaggar and restore its water quality.
MC officials told the green court that tenders to upgrade all five STPs had already been floated. An officer said though the MC was improving the BOD level, a new parameter of "faecal coliform" had been added recently to the working of the STPs. At present, none of the STPs has a system to deal with faecal coliform, a major water pollutant after the BOD level.
He said they would deal with the issue soon. The green panel also ordered that an environment monitoring cell be set up in the UT within a month. The NGT also asked the authorities to ensure that its directions on plastic waste, bio-medical waste, construction and demolition waste were complied with.
The authorities of Chandigarh may remain present in person for a further review on August 24,
the NGT said. The green panel had earlier expressed concern over the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, saying that the situation was highly unsatisfactory.
The tribunal said if the local bodies were unable to bear the financial burden, the liability would be that of the state government with liberty to take remedial action against the erring local bodies.
"Apart from compensation, adverse entries must be made in the annual confidential reports of the CEO of the said local bodies and other senior functionaries of the Department of Urban Development, who are responsible for the compliance of order of this tribunal," it said. A penalty of Rs 10 lakh per month could also be levied on the erring local bodies.
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