Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding illegal encroachment and construction on grazing land and Bagela pond by filling it with debris, Munwas village, district Udaipur, Rajasthan, 07/08/2023

  • 07/08/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal, Central Zonal Bench, Bhopal in the matter of Mahadev Singh Vs State of Rajasthan & Others dated 07/08/2023.

Mahadev Singh, resident of Munwas, District Udaipur in his letter petition to the NGT, July 10, 2022 said that there was illegal encroachment and construction on grazing land and Bagela pond by filling it with debris. There was cutting of hills and trees and trucks full of debris was dumped into the pond in front of Munwas school. Some hotel owners have constructed building by filling a portion of pond by discharging waste water into pond. Also, the natural source of water coming to pond have been closed for construction purposes by Valansia Resort. Sarpanch has constructed houses in grazing land, one example being Munwas dairy.

The joint committee in its inspection report, March 21, 2023 said that in the revenue village Kailashpuri, a community building has been constructed on the land recorded in revenue record as grazing land. The pond in front of Munwas school has been leveled to the extent of 25 sq meter. Further, there is about 750 sq. meter land "on the lower side of Arazi no. 293, 294" whereon rainwater used to flow but that has also been filled and flow of rainwater as been obstructed. With regard to filing of land of the pond, it was found that arazi number 1 in village Munwas (recorded in revenue record as Bila Naam kisam Dha Pe Ge Mu/talab) around 10300 sq. feet of land has been filled in and after leveling, a wall has been constructed. These were some of the findings of the joint committee.

The NGT observed that nothing has been said in the entire report as to what action has been taken regarding demolition, restoration of land which has been illegally encroached or pond which has been leveled and filled in by certain persons causing damage to environment. Supreme Court in Hinch Lal Tiwari Vs Kamala Devi & Ors (2001) 6 SCC 496 said that no pond can be allowed to be encroached or filled in and it has to be restored by concerned officers and it is their responsibility. Collector, Udaipur has not given any information as to what steps has been taken for removal of encroachment and restoration of land which have been illegally encroached upon by certain persons.

A letter has been sent by the applicant received on August 4, 2023 by the NGT and it raised serious grievance against the joint committee report. The letter said that the report has been "illegally submitted in order to protect large number of violators who are damaging Aravalli hills, encroaching grazing land, ponds, hill land and damaging environment".

The NGT, Central Zonal Bench, Bhopal directed appointment of an Amicus Curie in the matter to assist the Tribunal and also to obtain a further factual and action taken report by a high powered committee. The NGT directed a high powered committee comprising Member Secretary, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board, CPCB, Integrated Regional Office, MoEF Jaipur and Environment Expert in the field of Environmental Science to be nominated by Vice Chancellor of Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur. The said committee shall submit report within one month.