Clean environment basic right of citizens, plea of non-availability of funds cannot be excuse: NGT

NEW DELHI: A clean environment is a basic right of citizens and the plea of non-availability of funds cannot be an excuse for not ensuring it, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said while rapping the Uttarakhand government over waste disposal dump yards illegally set up on the bank of the Khoh river in Kotdwar.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said in view of the repeated failures of the state, a case is made out for taking coercive action against its senior officers, including the secretary, urban development, for violation of statutory rules, which is a punishable criminal offence, and also to require payment of compensation for the continuing damage to the environment, with a direction to recover from the erring officers.
The tribunal said the progress is not adequate in terms of the timelines laid down under the Solid Waste Management Rules and the damage to the environment is continuing, which is a criminal offence.
“Clean environment being basic right of citizens, a plea of non-availability of funds cannot be an excuse…. However, by way of the last opportunity, we direct the chief secretary, Uttarakhand to take remedial action and file his own affidavit within a month by e-mail,” the bench said.

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