NGT summons BBMP officials, threatens to initiate contempt proceedings

NGT summons BBMP officials, threatens to initiate contempt proceedings
The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday summoned top officials of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) following its controversial circular questioning the Tribunal authority on issuing directions to it on water bodies in the Karnataka capital.

The NGT Principal Bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, which is hearing the incidents of fire in Bellanduru lake in Bengaluru, expressed surprise over the BBMP recent circular, saying that the Tribunal will never hesitate to initiate contempt proceedings against state government officials if they failed to satisfy the bench about the reasons of issuing such direction.

The officials, who have issued the circular, have been asked to personally appear before the Bench on Wednesday itself and explain the rationale behind its circular to ignore the directions of NGT as it is just a quasi judicial body.

The bench said it has not taken light the circular, which has challenged the NGT authority to issue direction on preservation of environment particularly to lakes.

The BBMP had earlier issued an internal circular saying the NGT is a quasi judicial authority and it does not have any authority to issue direction. It went on to say that the BBMP is bound by the law and rules passed by the state assembly.

The circular was issued to clarify to its officials regrading a series of NGT orders on preventing construction activities on the lake bed and maintaining buffer zone around water bodies in Bengaluru.

On February 20, the NGT had taken suo motu cognizance of media reports and photographs of the incident in which fire broke out in the Bengaluru lake and issued notice the Union Environment Ministry, the Karnataka government, Lake Development Authority, state pollution control board and Central Pollution Control Board. The Tribunal has asked them to file affidavit listing out steps taken to stop such incidents as well restoration of water body. The agencies have already submitted a report to the NGT giving the timeline for restoration of lake.

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