NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed environmental compensation of Rs 2,900 crores on the state of Karnataka for allegedly not managing solid as well as liquid waste management causing harm to the environment.
Tribunal said that the award of compensation has become necessary under section 15 of the NGT Act to remedy the continuing damage to the environment and to comply with directions of the Supreme Court requiring this Tribunal to monitor the enforcement of norms for solid and liquid waste management.
Moreover, without fixing the quantified liability necessary for restoration, the mere passing of orders has not shown any tangible results in the last eight years (for solid waste management) and five years (for liquid waste management), even after the expiry of statutory/laid down timelines. Continuing damage is required to be prevented in future and past damage is to be restored, said the Tribunal.
Tribunal Bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel in an order passed on October 13, 2022, said that we determine the compensation payable by the State of Karnataka.
"In respect of the gap in the treatment of liquid waste/sewage i.e. 1427.4 MLD, compensation works out to Rs. 2856/- crores. Un-remediated legacy waste is to the extent of 178.59 MT. The total compensation under the head for the failure to scientifically manage solid waste works out to Rs. 540 crores. The total compensation comes to Rs 3396 crores, or say Rs. 3400 crores. Out of the said amount, we deduct the amount of Rs. 500 crore levied as compensation vide order dated October 10," the Tribunal said in a statement.
The remaining amount of Rs.2900 crore may be deposited by the State of Karnataka in a separate ring-fenced account within two months, to be operated as per directions of the Chief Secretary and utilised for restoration measures preferably within six months.
"As already directed, the Chief Secretary may evolve an appropriate mechanism for planning, execution and oversight of programmes for remedial action involving concerned departments within one month," it added.
The issues of solid as well as liquid waste management are being monitored by the Tribunal as per orders of the Supreme Court order of September 2, 2014, with regard to solid waste management and order dated February 22 in 2017, with regard to liquid waste management.
"Other related issues include pollution of 351 river stretches, 124 non-attainment cities in terms of air quality, 100 polluted industrial clusters, illegal sand mining etc. which have also been dealt with earlier but we propose to limit the proceedings in the present matter to two issues of solid waste and sewage management," said the order.