Enforce environmental norms: NGT on Matheran hill

NGT directs Maharashtra to hold meeting to enforce environmental norms for Matheran hill station

It also noted that notices have also been issued to the non-compliant hotels

A view of a paddy fields in the Matheran range during monsoon season, near Mumbai. Credit: PTI Photo

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Maharashtra Urban Development Secretary to hold a meeting with concerned authorities to enforce environmental norms for Eco-Sensitive Zone of Matheran hill station in the State.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel noted the stand of the state pollution control board that it has issued closure directions under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 against seven hotels operating without consent.

It also noted that notices have also been issued to the non-compliant hotels, requiring them to show cause why they will not be closed and compensation recovered.

The NGT directed the Municipal Council to comply with its constitutional obligation of Waste Management to enforce the environmental norms which needs to be overseen by the Secretary, Urban Development from the Maharashtra State.

"As regards inadequacy in the Zonal Master Plan, there is some difference of opinion between the parties but it is undisputed that the ZMP has been finalised and published.

The bench said instead of prolonging proceedings, it may be appropriate that the only surviving issue of coordination and checking up of factual position may be done by a senior authority of the State itself to coordinate with the different authorities so as to ensure compliance of law.

The Secretary, Urban Development may hold a meeting with concerned authorities (if necessary by video) and take further remedial measures, as found necessary.

"The applicant may make a representation for the purpose within four weeks. It will be open to the Secretary, Urban Development to coordinate with any State Agency who may be concerned about the matter," the NGT said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Bombay Environment Action Group for finalisation of Zonal Master Plan for Eco-Sensitive Zone of Matheran Hill Station in State of Maharashtra.