Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding encroachment and pollution of Laxmi Tal and nearby areas, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, 25/01/2022

  • 25/01/2022

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Girja Shankar Rai & Others Vs State of Uttar Pradesh & Others dated 25/01/2022.

The application has been filed by Girja Shankar Rai and others complaining inaction of statutory authorities in protection of Laxmi Tal and nearby area declared as ‘green belt/green park’ in Master Plan 2021 of Jhansi where there are several unauthorized encroachments and water body is also being polluted due to discharge of untreated effluent.

The NGT in its previous order directed the constitution of a Joint Committee comprising Principal Secretary, Urban Development Authority and District Magistrate, Jhansi and directed it to submit a factual report.

The District Magistrate, Jhansi in the report filed before the NGT, October 22, 2021 said a committee was constituted and the said committee visited the site and found that as per revenue records, the area of Laxmi Tal is 33.068 ha (82.22 acres) comprising 60 plots. It was found that one person had raised illegal construction and the rest of the land was without any encroachment. Further, the illegal construction was demolished by the Enforcement Squad of Nagar Nigam Jhansi. In addition, it was found that two more houses were constructed on the said plot. Both encroachers were issued notices for removal of unauthorized constructions whereupon they approached the Allahabad High Court and the matter is pending. Besides this, two public temples have been constructed on the land of Laxmi Tal "but their removal will not be practicable in view of law and order situation", the report said.

With regard to pollution of water in Laxmi Tal, the report says that action has been taken by Jal Nigam and Jal Sansthan, Jhansi.

The NGT, January 25, 2022 noted that while the report of the Additional Chief Secretary said that no untreated water is being discharged into Laxmi Tal presently, but the report of the District Magistrate shows that many steps are in the stage of planning and only after execution thereof there would be complete stoppage of discharge of polluted effluent in Laxmi Tal water and the 26 MLD STP is not able to do the complete job.

The bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert members Nagin Nanda and Afroz Ahmad said that none of the reports filed in the matter before the Tribunal had any information about the quantity of sewage entering Laxmi Tal, water quality data, time for completion of TTP, action plan, if any, for desiltation and cleaning of water.

The NGT directed the submission of a factual report from a committee comprising of different authorities comprising of MoEF&CC, CPCB, Department of Agriculture, UP, Department of Forest & Environment, UP and Divisional Commissioner, Jhansi. The committee has been entrusted with the responsibility of making spot inspections, examine relevant records and submit a factual report within two months.