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NGT seeks report from Uttar Pradesh government on floodplain zone demarcation of Ganga's tributaries in Varanasi

The green panel was hearing a plea claiming that the civic body in the district did not demarcate the rivers' floodplain zones, resulting in continuous encroachment. The plea also alleged illegal discharge of sewage in the rivers.
Last Updated 02 March 2024, 07:05 IST

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a report disclosing the steps taken for demarcation of floodplain zones of the Varuna and the Assi, the Ganga's tributaries in Varanasi district.

The green panel was hearing a plea claiming that the civic body in the district did not demarcate the rivers' floodplain zones, resulting in continuous encroachment. The plea also alleged illegal discharge of sewage in the rivers.

A bench of National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava noted a report by the Varanasi Municipal Corporation, according to which 15 nullahs (drains) were discharging partially-untreated sewage in the Varuna, adversely impacting its water quality.

The bench, also comprising Judicial Member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Expert Members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, noted an Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board report that said inspection of the 15 drains found three to be tapped, 10 partially tapped and two untapped.

In a recent order, the bench further noted the board's report that around 28 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage was being discharged in the Assi.

"Joint secretary, urban development (of the state), has also filed the action-taken report belatedly on February 15, 2024, disclosing a similar position in respect of the discharge of untreated sewage in rivers Varuna and Assi," the tribunal said.

The report, however, was 'absolutely silent' regarding the steps taken for the demarcation of the Varuna and the Assi's floodplains in Varanasi district, it added.

"Counsel for the state is unable to disclose to the tribunal as to why the state is not responding on the issue of demarcation of floodplain zones. Hence, the state of Uttar Pradesh is directed to file a fresh report within four weeks, disclosing the steps taken in this regard," the green panel said.

It also directed the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board to file a new report disclosing the action taken against the 'defaulting authorities'.

The matter has been posted to April 26 for further proceedings.

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(Published 02 March 2024, 07:05 IST)

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