The National Green Tribunal has instructed Punjab’s chief secretary to submit biannual progress reports on the management of solid and liquid waste in the state.
Earlier, due to deficiencies in waste management, the NGT imposed an environmental penalty of Rs 2,080 crore on the state for its failure to address solid and liquid waste treatment.
In a ruling from September of the previous year, the tribunal directed the relevant authorities to deposit this sum into a separate dedicated account, designated for restoration efforts. Additionally, they were required to submit reports every six months.The NGT bench, led by Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava along with members Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert A Senthil Vel, highlighted that although progress reports were submitted on May 15 and October 20 of the current year, the mandatory biannual report was absent.
Expressing dissatisfaction, the bench highlighted unresolved issues, including 31.46 metric tonnes (MT) of uncleared waste and the lack of treatment capacity for 326.58 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage.
In a recent order, the bench stressed the necessity for comprehensive information on solid and sewage management concerning each city and town. They called for a time-bound action plan to ensure complete processing of solid and sewage management.
The tribunal acknowledged the chief secretary’s establishment of a committee in November of the preceding year to address gaps in sewage and solid waste management. However, it emphasized that this did not excuse the chief secretary from adhering to the tribunal’s directive regarding the submission of biannual progress reports.
Therefore, the NGT mandated the chief secretary to submit further biannual progress reports demonstrating tangible progress.