NGT judicial member B Amit Sthalekar and expert member A Sengthil Vel took strong umbrage to the NMCG’s failure to file an affidavit even seven months after notices were issued to the respondents.
“If the respondent does not file the affidavit by the next date of listing, the case will proceed ex parte,” the court observed.
Green activist Subhas Datta had in February this year filed a PIL on the terrible condition of the Saraswati river that meets the Ganga in two places — Tribeni in Hooghly and Sankrail in Howrah. The 55-km river has disappeared in several stretches, while in others it has been reduced to a drain. While Datta submitted around 200 photographs as evidence, an expert committee appointed by NGT also confirmed the environment violations after a survey.
The state pollution control board, in its affidavit on September 3, had outlined various works that are needed to be carried out.
The court also directed Datta to add the urban development and municipal affairs department, Eastern Railway and Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority as respondents in the case.