The top court also stayed the NGT order asking the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to pay a fine of Rs 50 crore for release of untreated sewage in the Yamuna river in the national capital.
“Issue notice. Returnable in eight weeks. Pending further orders, the direction of the National Green Tribunal asking the NOIDA and DJB to pay Rs 100 crore and Rs 50 crore respectively as fine will remain stayed,” the bench said.
Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani appeared for the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) and assailed the NGT order. The top court issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments, besides others, on the appeal of NOIDA and sought their responses within eight week, making it clear that it was staying the fine aspect of the NGT order only.
The green tribunal had imposed in August a cost of Rs 100 crore on NOIDA over its failure to control discharge of untreated sewer waste into drains, causing pollution in the Yamuna river.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had also imposed a cost of Rs 50 crore on the Delhi Jal Board.
The green panel noted that out of the 95 group housing societies in Noida, 56 have sewage treatment facility or partial treatment facility and untreated sewage directly goes into the drain.
“There are designated authorities entrusted with the task of stopping it (untreated sewage) but they have failed to prevent such pollution despite several directions of this tribunal in the last about four years in the light of the reports of the committees appointed by the tribunal after ascertaining the factual status on the ground,” the NGT had said.
With regard to the creation of the environment cell, New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) informed the NGT that it could not be created as the process of hiring professionals has not been completed.
“Further report of NOIDA does not show any noticeable change, except that work of wetland is said to have been awarded in respect of drains but the water quality of the said drains is not meeting the standards,” the green tribunal had noted.
It had directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to issue appropriate directions to all pollution control boards within two months.
The NGT had said remedial action should be taken by the authorities concerned and monitored at the highest level by the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi directly or through any appropriate mechanism.
It is necessary to determine accountability for the past failures causing huge damage to the environment and public health and to meet the cost of remediation, it had added.
“Pending consideration of action against other authorities and final accountability of NOIDA Authority and DJB, they are directed to deposit respectively a sum of Rs 100 crore and Rs 50 crore in a separate account with CPCB towards interim compensation to be utilised for restoration measures,” the bench said.
The tribunal had said that the chief secretaries of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh will be free to identify the erring officers in the process and take remedial action and recover compensation from such erring officers/violators, including group housing societies.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Noida-resident Abhisht Kusum Gupta against the disposal of sewer waste in the irrigation canal in Sector-137.