Ngt Forms Joint Panel, Seeks Factual Report On Sidhwan Canal Pollution, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


Within days of a group of residents moving the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over rising pollution in Sidhwan canal, the tribunal has constituted a joint committee comprising officials of the irrigation department, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Ludhiana district magistrate and executive engineer of Sidhwan canal wing. The committee has been directed to submit a factual report on the matter.

Issuing directions, the bench said, “The report shall highlight factual status on waste lying along the banks of canal in question, extent of encroachments and areas demarcated on both sides of the canal as no activity zone and the action taken by the authorities concerned, if any.”

The case is now listed for further consideration on February 3.

On November 16, four Ludhiana residents — Kuldeep Singh Khaira, Dr Amandeep Singh Bains, Vikas Arora and Kapil Dev — had filed a petition in the NGT, seeking measures to prevent Sidhwan Canal from becoming another Buddha Nullah.

During the hearing, Kapil Dev had said Sidhwan canal passing through Ludhiana is being polluted because of dumping of plastic bags, polyester clothes waste and other non-biodegradable material. He also claimed that encroachments have come up on the banks, but neither the irrigation department of Punjab nor other authorities have taken any action.

The NGT bench, comprising Justice Sudhir Aggarwal, a judicial member, and Prof A Senthil Vel, expert member, said in their view, a substantial question of environment arising out of implementation of enactments specified in Schedule I under NGT Act, 2010 has arisen, but before taking further action, they find it appropriate to obtain a factual report for which a joint committee comprising the irrigation department, Punjab; Punjab State PCB; district magistrate, Ludhiana; and executive engineer, canal officer, Sidhwan canal division, Sirhind canal complex, Urban Estate, Dugri, is constituted who shall submit a factual report within two months by e-mail. They ordered that the state PCB will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance.

Kuldeep Singh Khaira, another petitioner, said the administration as well as other authorities concerned had visited the Sidhwan canal looking for a solution to the problem. He said despite raising the issue of encroachments on the banks of canal and garbage dumping by MC, no action has been taken against encroachments. And the municipal corporation is still dumping garbage on the banks of the Sidhwan Canal, he claimed.

He alleged that the irrigation department and PPCB are also silent over the illegal action of the municipal corporation.

Engineer Kapil Dev said on Dussehra evening, they had lodged a complaint against dumping of garbage (including plastic) by the municipal corporation and unidentified persons. He said they had also requested the authorities to take measures on Chhath Puja. Around 15 days back, they had also staged a peaceful dharna on Gill bridge.

The petitioner said the authorities are allowing fairs in ‘no activity zone’ of Sidhwan canal, due to which the water is getting polluted.

Meanwhile, ‘Let’s Clean Ludhiana Foundation’, that had spearheaded the Times of India campaign on Sidhwan canal, has urged the authorities concerned to take measures to save the water body.

Dr Amandeep Singh Bains, who is a petitioner and had been associated with TOI’s Lets Save Sidhwan campaign, said many residents throw their household waste in the canal. He added that water pollution in the canal can be stopped only after the authorities lodge cases and penalise persons polluting the canal.

Mridula Jain, chairman of ‘Lets Clean Ludhiana Foundation’, said they had been working for years on the cleanliness and sustainability of Sidhwan canal passing through Ludhiana. She said they had already put mesh on 12 bridges of the canal to stop people from throwing religious articles or other garbage into it. “But it is also responsibility of the irrigation department to maintain it. The garbage lying in the floor of the canal is an eyesore. We hope that the administration will wake up to the problem and show urgency to clean up the crucial water body,” Jain added.

Meanwhile, some residents said that it needs continuous efforts to clean the water body. “It is not one time job to clean the canal and its banks, but needs continuous efforts to keep it clean. We hope that the authorities work round the clock to restore the glory of the water body and save it from going Buddha Nullah way,” said Narinder Singh, a city resident.


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