New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has imposed a penalty of Rs 3,800 crore on the Telangana government for its failure to treat solid and liquid waste.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said huge gaps exist in the management of solid and liquid waste in the southern state.
The bench, also comprising Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, said the liability of the state for past violations had to be quantified on the “polluter pays” principle, to be utilised for the restoration of the environment.
Providing clean air, water, hygiene and environment have to be the top priorities for good governance, the bench said, adding that the state could not avoid its constitutional responsibility of providing a pollution-free environment.
Calculating the total environmental compensation to be paid by Telangana, the bench said the amount for the gap in the treatment of liquid waste or sewage is Rs 3,648 crore, while the compensation for the state’s failure to scientifically manage solid waste is Rs 177 crore.
“The total compensation comes to Rs 3,825 crore or, say, Rs 3,800 crore, which may be deposited by the state of Telangana in a separate ring-fenced account within two months, to be operated as per the directions of the chief secretary and utilised for restoration measures,” the bench said.
Further, it said the restoration of sewage management would include setting up sewage treatment and utilisation systems, upgrading systems or operations of the existing sewage treatment facilities to ensure the utilisation of their full capacities, ensuring compliance with standards, including those of faecal coliform and setting up a proper faecal sewage and sludge management mechanism in rural areas.
For solid waste management, the execution plan would include setting up the required waste processing plants and remediation of the left-out sites, the bench said.
The restoration plans requires to be immediately implemented across the state in a time-bound manner and if the violations continued, the liability to pay additional compensation would be considered, the green panel added.
The NGT said compliance would be the chief secretary’s responsibility and directed him to file progress reports every six months.
The NGT is monitoring compliance with the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and other environmental aspects by the states and Union territories.