Shri. Pradeep Gandhi, Ex-MP presenting case study on water management in Water Talk held on 24th May 2019 at New Delhi
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has specified the inlet quality standards for the Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) in Haryana. These standards are established with due consideration of local needs and conditions. During the process of laying these effluent standards, the Board sought proposal from Technical Advisory Committee. The proposal was shared with all stakeholders on 29th December 2018 through acclaimed newspapers; inviting comments, suggestions or objections. According to HSPCB Order No. HSPCB/SSC/2019/6916-39 Dated 28/01/2019, the Board has considered all observations submitted by stakeholders, including industries and industrial associations, in response to the proposal. The units, which discharge their effluent in to the CETPs, need to comply with the standards.
This has been published in the 26th issue of our newspaper , date 23/05/2019.
30th April 2019:
With reference to the Original Application (OA) No. 1069/2018 filed by Nitin Shankar Deshpande against Union of India and Others, the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) have said that there is no justification for diluted standards for areas other than Mega and Metropolitan Cities. The Pincipal Bench was comprising of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chair Person, Justice K. Ramakrishnan, JM and Dr, Magin Nanda, Expert Member.
The NGT order concluded that "Accordingly, we accept the report of the Expert Committee with the modification that the standards recommended for Mega and Metropolitan Cities will also apply to rest of the country. We also direct that the standards will apply not only for new STPs but also for existing/under construction STPs without any delay and giving of seven years time stands disapproved. The NGT bench also said that "the Minsitry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) may issue an appropriate Notification in the matter within one month from today i.e. 30th April 2019." Read more at https://enviroannotations.blogspot.com/2016/04/treated-sewage-characterization-common.html
NGT orders adopted hurriedly without appropriate amendments in provisions of Water Act and Air Act?
New Delhi: On 29th April 2019 the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has issued a 19-page order with various supporting documents, duly signed by a representative of Board’s Chairman. The Board has cited, orders issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), as the baseline reference to this order. However, it is also mentioned that the Board has power under section 33-A of Water Act and 31-A of the Air Act to direct closure, prohibition, regulation of any industry, operation or process or stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.
Many legal experts and former SPCB officers are of the view that as SPCB has not vested with the power to penalize, the Board seems to have hurriedly implemented NGT orders, without necessary amendments in provisions of Water Act and Air Act. The HSPCB order also does not cite any reference to Government proceedings, except a Central Pollution Control Board in-house committee report. And therefore, the order has also left scope for review or challenge to it in the NGT or any other court of law.
On the other hand, such a step is going to establish a perception of legalizing non-compliance, which is substantially surfacing – the latest one being the case of Sushant Lok, Gurgaon. Another question is, whether the HSPCB will, henceforth, bear all the responsibilities and people don’t need to rush to NGT? And the most important question is that in the instance of Water Act being into existence since 45 years and Air Act since 38 years, there were significant number of cases with gross violation brought out into the lime light by the common mass and not the HSPCB. And there could be many more similar cases. In such a situation, the Board’s effort towards environmental conservation will be proven with time. However, it is expected that unlike the 2015 order pertaining to penalize the stubble burning by farmers, which didn’t augur well and remained in national as well as international news for being a principal source of bad air quality in Delhi and adjoining areas, this order could be implemented with much ease to regulate the industries and business establishments.
Orders SDMC and DPCC to act against illegal constructions in Tughlakabad Extm. Delhi
New Delhi: South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to act against illegal construction activities without any sanctioned plan in Tughlakabad Extension area. The order came from National Green Tribunal (NGT), Principal Bench headed by Hon’ble Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson in the process of hearing Original Application No. 1072/2018 filed by Nanak Singh, General Secretary, Tuglakabad Bistar. The bench, which comprise of two other members, Hon’ble Justice K. Ramakrishnan, Judicial Member, and Hon’ble Dr. Nagin Nanda, Expert Member expressed dissatisfaction over the matter as a report has been furnished on 8th February 2019 by SDMC, no action is shown to have been taken by the SDMC or DPCC, which was clearly necessary. The Principal Bench of NGT has directed SDMC and DPCC to stop illegal activities, initiate prosecution of the guilty and also a recovery of compensation for the damage caused to the environment, which should be adequate to recover the cost of restoration as well as deterrent. The order has also sought an action taken report for further hearing on 8th August 2019.
In its 8th February 2019 report, the SDMC has stated that “the properties are in unauthorized and unauthorized regularized colony having no clearance/sanction or approved building plans. Construction activity needs to abide by the plans, safety codes and requirements as mandated by the respective State Government Agencies/urban local bodies and court strictures. Construction activity needs to strictly follow the provisions of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 and the guidelines thereof. Garbage, wastes and filths were found scattered all around the entire colony creating very unhygienic conditions for living. Appropriate agencies may be directed for garbage collection and maintaining cleanliness in the area.”
On 22nd April 2019 the NGT has directed Daman & Diu Pollution Control Committee (DDPCC) to consider the application seeking Consent to Establish (CTE) that was rejected on a misinterpreted ground. Vinaychand M. Shah I.A. No. 273/2019 (Earlier O. A. No. 1023/2018) sought justice from the NGT when his application for CTE was rejected by the DDPCC on the ground that the activities of the appellant fall in banned category. Subsequently, NGT sought an expert opinion in the matter from the Central Pollution Control Board. According to CPCB, “Chemical gases like chlorine, ethylene, and ammonia are largely manufactured/generated in specific industry like Chloralkali, Petrochemical, and Fertilizer industry respectively. These gases are generally secondary product and produced along with other main products. Their manufacturing process is totally different from manufacturing of Nitrogen and Oxygen. Daman PCC may have interpreted activity of the industry similar to manufacturing of inorganic gases. However, it is similar to activity of manufacturing of compressed oxygen from crude liquid oxygen (without using any solvent by maintaining pressure, temperature only separation of gases), which is mentioned serial number 9 and original serial number 25 in white category list.”
Minister insists “No coercive action and sealing, Plan on Mayapuri in progress”
New Delhi: On 23rd April 2019, Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain said directions have been issued to the transport and industries department to prepare a short-term programme to ensure no pollution is caused and a long-term action plan is required to deal with the scrapping of motor vehicles. He also said that the Department of Environment and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have been told to not undertake any coercive action or sealing operation in Mayapuri or any other place in Delhi for the time being. "However, DPCC and other government departments must ensure that these units cause no pollution," the Minister added. Mr. Hussain also said the livelihoods of all stakeholders should not be affected. "Government of Delhi is committed to undertake all necessary steps to ensure that no pollution is caused. However, this needs to be done in a positive manner without depriving the livelihood of the people involved," he said in a statement.
Earlier, according to the NGT order dated 11th April 2019, which makes it clear that all applications and explanations given by different departments were kept aside as there was no merit to any of them. It had ordered officials to take action immediately or face imprisonment. The DPCC, is part of a seven-member Special Task Force formed on the NGT’s orders to take action against “illegal and unauthorised scrap industries in Mayapuri”. Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain was not happy as the action taken by DPCC. Subsequently, he was addressing a press conference, in which he expressed that he was kept out of the loop regarding the action, which was ordered by the National Green Tribunal.
On the eve of Earth Day, 2019, India's Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi shared a message to the world, "Today on the Earth Day, we bow in reverence to Mother Earth. For years, this great planet has been home to phenomenal diversity. Today we also reiterate our commitment to work towards the well-being of our planet, focus on sustainable development and mitigating climate change. "
Many other leaders have also shared text messages on the occasion.
Since 2014, in the last five years, many of us have seen that Hon’ble External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has seriously acted upon many complaints and requests through Twitter. There are many other examples at different levels including ministerial levels those were resulting. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also launched a mechanism to accept complaints through Twitter.
However, there is Twitter handle available for the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC). The IT-cell of Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has a Twitter handle and some of its regional offices have also created Twitter handle. Although the results against complaints through Twitter are not encouraging in case of HSPCB, there are one incidence of action against the Hotel Le Meridien, Gurugram. There were no follow-up response from HSPCB.
Recently, the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) have started addressing residents’ complaints related to pollution made through Twitter. Anil Singh, Regional Officer of UPPCB, confirmed our sources that Twitter complaints are now being treated as official. “We get pollution related complaints on a daily basis and try and mitigate them as soon as possible. However, some complaints can’t be addressed immediately and not all complaints are valid as well,” he said.
Noida Authority has also started keeping a dossier of Twitter based complaints. Mr. Rajeev Tyagi, General Manager (Projects) of Noida Authority, said the Authority has been scanning tweets posted over the past two months and taking appropriate and fitting action. “We have started scanning Twitter for the past two months and more and more complaints are now coming through the platform. We try to reply as soon as possible and an officer at the level of chief engineer handles all the queries,” he said.
Delhi Traffic Police has been very active on Twitter and often found to be cracking on complaints to deliver results. It is also found that officials from South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Jal Board are active on Twitter. In the cities surrounding Delhi, officials in Municipal Corporation of Gurugram also respond to Twitter messages.
This is a positive symbol for the society, as we have emerged with state-of-art technological solutions, significant growth in awareness of legal rights and concerns pertaining to livelihood. The technology is easy to verify the truth and also hit the problem originating point, the result could be quicker. Furthermore, since 2014, there have been significant changes made in environmental regulations those made easy for industries and business. Adoption of online systems and increasing the consent period has ultimately increased the efficiency of SPCBs. In many SPCBs the number of field visits have been reduced. Therefore, such online complaints based on Twitter or WhatsApp or any other mechanism should officially be given a thrust. The paper works are not-environment friendly and time consuming. Every government departments should come open and embrace such mechanisms to address the problems prevailing in the society.
Gurugram: According to reliable sources, the Gurugram South regional office of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has drawn samples from various industrial establishments to comply with some orders of National Green Tribunal (NGT). It is a matter of fact that before carrying out a surprise sampling such information must not be shared. However, the Board has no practice to display such matters on its website nor to share a piece of information, even after execution of the order, through any form of media including social media. Industries in Haryana have been graced with the current government that the officials of HSPCB do not visit an industry or conduct any sampling more than once in five years. Despite this fact, some units have expressed their unhappiness as the frequency of sampling by the HSPCB team was more than once in the last five years. This brings some obvious questions, as why the Board does not communicate, even in the post-sampling stage, to display transparency on the basis of selecting industrial and other units for sampling.
Secondly, on what ground the sampling team is formed? If it is a compliance with a Court order or NGT order, should not the team comprise of members from the appellant(s), respondents and neutral experts from acclaimed institutions?
Thirdly, whether the objective of sampling also includes a review of February 2019 order the HSPCB has decided to reduce the production or operational capacity of a unit in proportionately to the adequacy of pollution control device, which was also a step to comply with one of the NGT Orders.
Fourth, who is the verifying authority to ensure whether the sampling and sample preservation techniques are being followed aptly? According to sources, the effluent samples are drawn from applicable sources, placed in a plastic jerrycane or even some PET bottles and carried to the HSPCB laboratories without addition of any preservatives, as required in IS: 3025. In the technological age, the entire sampling process could be easily exhibited through videography that could be a strong evidence.
Fifth, the results are also not disclosed, which gives space for activism in right-to-information. A simple communication with stake holders will increase the level of confidence and transparency. If the sampling and testing results cannot give adequate confidence amongst the public, especially the appellant(s), the entire process that involves series of technical aspects – becomes a failure. Therefore, with the growing concern among the public, HSPCB and other SPCBs also, there is a need to review and address these questions in a positive spirit.
India has been experiencing weather and climate related loss and damage, the Kerala floods and Ockhi being the rarest of the rare events: Dr. P. K. Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister
Sanjaya K. Mishra
New Delhi: A one-day National Consultation on Loss and Damage, to deliberate and brainstorm on emerging perspectives on approaches to assess, minimise and address climate-related loss and damage, was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) today, the 16th April 2019.
The workshop was inaugurated by Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr. P. K. Mishra, who mentioned that India has been experiencing weather and climate related loss and damage, the Kerala floods and Ockhi being the rarest of the rare events. It is noteworthy that Cyclone Ockhi was a strong tropical cyclone that was formed around November 21, 2017, in the eastern Andaman Sea. It was the ninth strongest depression and third strongest storm of the 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. Given the evolving scenario, he suggested that the past is no longer a good guide for the future, and therefore such workshops are important. He identified five principal challenges that need to be addressed, including the need to understand not only the total quantum of loss but also its location, as well as impact on gender and social groups, the need to go beyond what is easier to measure, such as biodiversity loss, ecosystem services etc., address the attribution of the loss and damage, generate scenarios for future situations and invest in adaptive capacities, and the need to bring out clearly that loss and damage is not only an issue for small island developing countries, but also a critical issue in large countries like India which has a long coastline with numerous islands and coastal cities and Himalayan states at the risk of glacier outbreaks. He further underlined that India has committed to ensuring climate justice and mentioned the need for the developed countries to show greater commitment to support the most vulnerable and developing countries, including financial and capacity building support.
Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, complimented the MoEF&CC for the unique initiative of organizing the workshop and mentioned that the topic of loss and damage has become a major pillar of international negotiations under UNFCCC and has gained importance since COP 19 held in Warsaw. He highlighted that India, being bigger than 23 European countries and having a higher rate of growth and population, is facing greater challenges as compared to developed countries. The need to follow low carbon sustainable pathway, poverty alleviation and addressing climate change impacts are to be prioritized, said Shri Kant.
Shri C. K. Mishra, Secretary, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, highlighted that GHG emissions have been talked many times, but the discourse needs to move to critical elements and systematic planning. He urged the global community to come up with a global plan to address the issue loss and damage. He mentioned the Fiji Clearing House on Risk Transfer introduced at UNFCCC COP23, which was the first time when risk transfer and mitigation was discussed internationally. It was brought out that it is not only a Small Island States issue, but also for countries like India which who are at the risk of facing climate induced loss and damage. He added that global experience is good for knowledge and learning, but the country needs to bring in its own policies and recommendations as it has a diverse geography. He also underlined the three critical elements for addressing the issue of loss and damage, including risk reduction through more plantation, risk retention and risk transfer through insurance and funding mechanism.
UNFCCC representative Mr. Chad Tudenggongbu, representative talked about the global context of the issue of loss and damage, including heat waves, tropical cyclones, salinization, glacial retreat and desertification. He highlighted that the response action for loss and damage often requires multinational arrangements, with enhanced action and support.
The workshop had two technical sessions on specific topics including ‘Strengthening response to address loss and damage’ and ‘Approaches to assess, manage and address climate risks and loss and damage’ with eminent speakers from various State Governments, organizations and institutions including International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IIT Delhi, Madras School of Economics, National Institute of Disaster Management, ActionAid International, Government of Tamil Nadu, Government of Uttarakhand, Government of Kerala, GIZ, and Indian Institute of Public Administration.
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT), while hearing a plea filed by Gurugram based RTI Activist Shri Harinder Dhingra said “In the absence of any suggested timeline, the short-term strategies may be implemented within three months and long-term strategies within nine months. The Chief Secretary, Haryana may monitor the matter and send periodical reports along with the reports”.
In the plea, Shri Harinder Dhingra had sought directions from Hon’ble NGT to restrain Appu Ghar, the amusement park, from using groundwater without necessary permission and constitute an expert committee to investigate the illegal extraction of groundwater. As such the location of the project falls in over-exploited zone of Gurugram. Any further abstraction of groundwater could result in depletion of the water table in the area.
The NGT had earlier formed a high-level committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board, Central Ground Water Authority and the District Magistrate, Gurugram. The committee suggested that treated sewage water should be supplied to Appu Ghar in Gurugram and use of drinking water for commercial purposes should be discouraged. “Treated sewage maybe provided from the existing line in Sector-29 to the International Recreation & Amusement Ltd., Sector-29, Gurugram and the canal water supply connection from HUDA/HSVP line may be disconnected”. The committee also said before the NGT that the amusement park has not been given permission to extract water through tubewells.
However, according to an RTI source as cited in the plea, in June 2016, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) had sanctioned two water connections to the amusement park had been; one of size 50 mm and the other of 25 mm size. The connection does not suffice the water requirement in the project.
New Delhi: Amended project of Redevelopment of General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) Colony at Sarojini Nagar by M/s NBCC India Limited accorded Environmental Clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, New Delhi. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has assigned the Rs. 13,494 Crores project NBCC (India) Limited for the proposed redevelopment of General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) Colony at Sarojini Nagar, Africa Avenue Marg, Chanakyapuri Tehsil, New Delhi. As per the Hon’ble High court directions, NBCC has reworked their concept plans.
The environmental clearance (EC) has been obtained for total plot area of 996193.45 square meter and total built-up area of 3845281.18 square meter. The proposal involves construction work in 5 Residential Type Buildings of 231 towers with combined basement and total dwelling units of 17,944 including Service apartments, Office block and other social infrastructure like Vinay Nagar Bengali Sr. School, Ganesh Shankar Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Government Boys Senior Secondary School - 1 & 2, Government Girls Senior Secondary School - 1, SKV Kanya Vidayala No.1, NDMC NAVY UG School, N.P Co-Ed Secondary School, N.P Primary School (D.G Block), N.P Primary School-1, Khalsa Middle School, Bharat Samaj Nursery School, NDMC Dispensary, C.G.H.S Dispensary No. 1 to 4, Barat Ghar, Ayush Hospital, GrihaKalyan Kendra & Barat Ghar-1, Police Station and Post Office.
The project has been accorded clearance with condition that “no tree cutting/felling is involved”. However, in the EIA report, NBCC has proposed to transplant 3,500 (+/- 5%) trees. No tree transplantation should be carried out unless exigencies demand. Where absolutely necessary, tree transplantation shall be with prior permission from the Tree Authority constituted as per the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994 (Delhi Act No. 11 of 1994). Old trees should be retained based on girth and age regulations as may be prescribed by the Forest Department. Plantations to be ensured species (cut) to species (planted). In case of non-survival of any transplanted tree, compensatory plantation in the ratio of 1:10 (i.e. planting of 10 trees for every 1 tree) shall be done and maintained.
The EC also specifies that a minimum of 1 tree for every 80 square meter of land should be planted and maintained. The existing trees will be counted for this purpose. The landscape planning should include plantation of native species. The species with heavy foliage, broad leaves and wide canopy cover are desirable. Water intensive and/or invasive species should not be used for landscaping. As proposed, 304237.91 (29.12% of the plot area) area shall be provided for green area development.
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