Lucknow: Taking stern note of growing pollution in the water bodies in and around Gorakhpur, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a fine of Rs 120 crore. The NGT has taken cognizance of flowing sewage in the rivers flowing from Gorakhpur and the famous Ramgarh lake of city. The NGT action might cost dear to the beautification drive of Ramgarh, which the Yogi Government wants to develop as a tourist spot. The state government has sanctioned Rs 25 crore for water sports in Ramgarh Lake at Gorakhpur. Besides the hanging restaurant, ropeway and visitors’ gallery were also planned for this place.
However, the NGT has found that there are several environmental violations, including improper solid waste management and discharge of sewage into rivers in Gorakhpur district. The principal bench of NGT headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted the liability of the state for the discharge of 55 MLD sewage into rivers at Gorakhpur at Rs 110 crores.
The NGT has constituted a six-member committee to check pollution in Ramgarh Lake, Rapti, Aami, Rohin and other rivers in and around Gorakhpur. It has been observed that hazardous diseases like Japanese Encephalitis, Acute Encephalitis and others have been occurring in the eastern UP due to the contaminated water and hundreds of children die every year due to this. The six-member committee includes Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Urban Development, Officials in the state & Central Pollution Control Board, Secretary in the department of Environment, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and Gorakhpur Municipal Corporation.
The committee has been asked to prepare an action plan to check pollution within one month. Besides, it would run and monitor the sewage treatment plant also. The NGT has asked the committee to check encroachment on the sides of rivers and lake and ensure plantation. The Committee has been asked to submit Action Taken Report (ATR) to NGT in six months.
According to environment activist, Ashish Awasthi, the city of Gorakhpur has been witnessing water-borne diseases and flood due to contamination and encroachment. He said that the silt of rivers is never being cleared and neither there is any treatment for sewage water flowing in it. He said that funds have been allocated for the beautification of water bodies but nothing concrete has been done to check pollution.
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