Lucknow: Taking a stern note of contamination of water bodies and groundwater in and around Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a fine of Rs 120 crore on the state government. The NGT has taken cognisance of flowing sewage into the rivers here and the famous Ramgarh lake, whose beautification as a tourist spot is chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s pet project. The state has sanctioned Rs 25 crore for water sports at the lake, besides a hanging restaurant, a ropeway and a visitors’ gallery.
The tribunal has found several environmental violations, including improper solid waste management and discharge of sewage into rivers in the district. Its principal bench, headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, noted the liability of the state at Rs 110 crore for discharge of 55 million litres of sewage per day.
The NGT has constituted a six-member committee to check pollution in Rapti, Aami, Rohin and other rivers in and around Gorakhpur, besides Ramgarh lake. It observed that hazardous diseases like Japanese encephalitis and acute encephalitis have been occurring in the eastern UP due to contaminated water and hundreds of children die every year due to this.
The committee has been asked to prepare an action plan within a month. Besides, it will also run and monitor the sewage treatment plant. The NGT has asked the committee to check encroachment along the rivers and the lake and ensure plantation. It will submit the ‘action taken report’ to the NGT in six months.
According to environmental activist Ashish Awasthi, Gorakhpur has been witnessing water borne diseases and floods due to contamination and encroachment. He said that river silt is never cleared and neither is there any treatment of sewage water flowing into it. Awasthi alleged that funds have been allocated for the beautification of water bodies but nothing concrete has been done to check pollution.
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