NGT rejects state’s plea overRs 500-crore escrow order

NGT rejects state’s plea overRs 500-crore escrow order

The National Green Tribunal has dismissed the state government’s petition to reconsider its December 6 order, asking it to deposit Rs 500 crore in an escrow account.

The green panel also rejected the plea, challenging the Rs 75-crore fine on the Karnataka government and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike for environmental degradation of the lakes in the city.

“The basis on which the impugned directions were passed was that there was utter failure on the part of the state and its authorities in protecting the lakes and in keeping the rajakaluves joining the lakes clean and free from encroachments, as revealed by crux of the Panjwani Committee report,” a three-member bench, presided over by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said. The NGT had passed the order, asking the state to pay Rs 500 crore after it took suo motu cognizance of the fire at Bellandur Lake in February 2017. NGO ‘Namma Bengaluru Foundation’ was impleaded in the matter.

The NGT has repeatedly reprimanded the state government and its agencies for failing to protect the lake and discharging its duties towards the society. It said the colossal neglect caused immense harm to innumerable citizens and the brunt of the effects will be borne by generations to come.

In its four-page order passed on January 30, the NGT said: “We may note that although the report was filed by the committee on May 31, 2018, about six months before the impugned order was passed, neither objections nor any report of action taken was filed.”