Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding construction activities in flood plain zone of river Ganga, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, 03/01/2022

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Vipin Nayyar Vs Union of India & Others dated 03/01/2022. Grievance in the application is against construction activities in flood plain zone of river Ganga. Municipal Corporation, Rishikesh is constructing toilets in the said area illegally and discharging untreated waste therefrom in river Ganga. No STP has been constructed to treat the waste.

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The NGT, October 28, 2021 had directed for the constitution of a three member committee to undertake a visit to the site and give a factual report in the matter about the status of compliance of environmental norms. Accordingly, the District Magistrate, Dehradun has filed a report, December 20, 2021 stating that a public toilet is under construction at a distance of 20.77 meters from Ganga. Due to the absence of sewer line, a septic tank has been constructed to collect the waste, as per protocol for septage management. Septic tanks are evacuated from time to time. 80 per cent work has been constructed.

The applicant (Vipin Nayyar) filed objections to the report on the ground that the construction within Flood Plain Zone is illegal. The complex in question is over the Filter Trench Seepage Drain of the dam, in the catchment area of the dam. The same is filled with human waste, coming out of the toilet.

The NGT directed that till alternative arrangement is made, septic tanks be regularly cleaned and maintained to ensure that no untreated sewage is discharged into the river or in the open. The state of Uttarakhand has been directed to ensure that no untreated sewage/effluent is discharged into any drain or any other water body and adequate arrangements are made for setting up requisite sewage treatment plants. All the Ganga bank towns and villages need to follow septage protocol as well as norms applicable to the flood protection zones. Evacuation from septic tanks must be linked to the preidentified STPs, the NGT order said.