New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal Tuesday directed 18 states and two Union Territories to submit action plan to ensure utilisation of treated waste water to reduce pressure on the groundwater resources throughout the country.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the states and UTs to submit the action plan within three months to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The green panel said the states which have still not furnished their action plans are defaulters for violating the directions of the tribunal for which no valid reason can be seen. It noted that only nine states and five UTs have submitted the action plan.
Accordingly to the CPCB status report, action plans have been received from Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Tripura. The states which have not submitted action plans are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Dadar and Nagar Haweli, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Pondicherry, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
"It is well known that absence of plan for reuse of treated water affects recharge of ground water and also results in fresh water being used for purposes for which treated water can alternatively be used. Proper plans for reuse of waste water can add to availability of potable water which is many times denied this basic need or has to travel long distances to fetch clean water," the bench said. "This being a substantial question of environment, direction is issued to the states/UTs which have not yet submitted their action plans to do so latest by June 30, failing which the tribunal may have to consider coercive measures, including compensation for loss to the environment," it said. The plans may include a monitoring mechanism in the states for coordination with the local bodies and this will be the responsibility of the chief secretaries of all the states and UTs.. During the hearing, the Delhi Jal Board told the NGT that the municipal corporations and Delhi Development Authority have agreed to lift the treated water by tankers till pipelines are laid and time bound plans have been prepared for doing the same which have been included in the latest action plan submitted to the CPCB. "We understand that about 103 Million Gallons Per Day (MGD) of treated water is not being effectively used by the DJB out of the total 459 MGD. This is a colossal waste of our precious natural resources and cannot be permitted," the green panel said....