Indore: NGT pulls up PS for not showing up over Khan river issue

Indore: National Green Tribunal, central bench at Bhopal, on Wednesday pulled up principal secretary (urban development and environment) for not appearing before it for presenting status report on cleaning work going on at Khan and Saraswati rivers in the city. In last hearing on a petition filed over the two rivers, the tribunal had asked the PS to present report on the status of the rivers on November 15. But Indore municipal commissioner Manish Singh appeared before the tribunal on behalf of the PS and presented the status report.

The tribunal sought to know from Singh as to why the PS himself did not show up. The tribunal rejected the report and directed the PS to appear in person and present the report. The NGT has been hearing a petition filed by social activist Kishor Kodwani who had alleged that the two rivers had virtually turned into nullahs due to release of sewerage water into them.

Following the order by NGT, Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) had started cleaning of the rivers. During the last hearing, the tribunal had directed for constitution of a committee led by district collector which would prepare a schedule for cleaning the rivers. The tribunal also issued directions for providing copy of schedule to the petitioner two days ahead of next hearing in the case.

“On November 7, the committee was formed and a schedule was also prepared but copy of it was provided to me only a day ahead of the petition. I informed the tribunal that I could not undergo the schedule so the court granted me time and fixed next date for hearing on December 6,” Kodwani said.

Meanwhile, owners of marriage gardens which were closed for releasing sewerage water into the rivers filed an intervening petition that their facilities were shut by the IMC without giving them adequate time to install sewerage treatment plant. In their petition, the garden operators sought to know how they could install sewerage plants on their premises as their gardens have been sealed now.

The NGT was informed that the orders for purchase of sewerage treatments were placed by the garden owners.  The garden operators also described action against them ‘illegal’ saying that the IMC has been charging Rs 7500 for every marriage function for dealing with waste produced by them. “When the IMC was levying fee for disposing of waste generated by us, as to why it shutdown our facilities,” they sought to know.

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