The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an interim penalty of ₹10 lakh on Karnataka government for its failure in stopping the discharge of pollutants in the Kithiganahalli Lake, near Bommasandra suburb in Bengaluru,
The green bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted that the authorities have committed a criminal offence. The bench also slapped a fine of ₹5 lakh on the municipal council of Bommasandra for failure to discharge its duties.
"Failure of important constitutional obligation by the municipal council as well as... defiance of orders of this tribunal and the Supreme Court by state authorities is at the cost of environment and public health and is very unfortunate for which prompt remedial actions must be taken and accountability of erring officers fixed," the bench said.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by Sanjay Rao and others seeking action against the pollution in the Kithiganahalli lake.
The bench said that "the discharge of untreated sewage into water bodies cause a huge damage, and the prevention of the same is the duty of the state authorities as the trustees of people's rights." It added that such duty is being clearly breached.
"In view of the above for the damage caused to the environment, the state of Karnataka and Municipal Council, Bommasandra are held liable to pay interim compensation assessed on an ad-hoc basis at ₹15 lakh. Karnataka is liable to pay ₹10 lakh and the Municipal Council, Bommasandra is liable to pay ₹5 lakh. Final compensation will be determined after hearing the state and the municipal council," the bench said.
The bench added that an expert committee will be appointed if necessary and that it would be open to the state and the municipal council to recover the amount from the erring officers. The amount of interim compensation should be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within one month and the same may be spent for restoration of the environment, the bench further said.Also Read: India To See Warmer Days, Heavy Rainfall, Floods This Century: Climate Change Assessment Report