Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution of river Hooghly, West Bengal, 18/01/2024

  • 18/01/2024

Order of the National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata) in the matter of Suprova Prasad Vs Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change & Others dated 18/01/2024.

The court called the report filed by the District Magistrate, Hooghly to be vague.

The report mentions that sewage generation is 162.83 MLD and in urban areas there are six sewage treatment plants (STPs) existing; one STP is under construction at Hooghly-Chinsurah and two elsewhere. However, the total capacity of the STP has not been mentioned and it leaves gaps with regard to sewage generated and sewage treated being unanswered. Likewise for septage management, it is stated that septage is being regularly co-treated in the existing STPs and three faecal sludge treatment plants at Uttarpara, Bhadreswar and Bansberia have been proposed. The present status of treatment of faecal sludge has not been mentioned in the report.

The Eastern Bench of the NGT expressed dissatisfaction with the report filed by the District Magistrate, Hooghly and said that there are "gaping omissions in facts, whether deliberate or otherwise" cannot be said at this stage. The reports of other District Magistrates, Municipal Corporations/Municipalities or Gram Panchayats, as the case may be, which are covered by the flow of Hooghly river, are required to take steps for protection of environment and quality of water, have not been placed on record.

Counsel representing the state was granted four weeks time to file a fresh affidavit on the behalf of the Chief Secretary, West Bengal. The court directed that the Chief Secretary should ensure that any affidavit or report that is filed is not deficient in factual material.

The Original Application has been filed by the Applicant alleging large scale pollution at various ghats in the river Hooghly. The various ghats referred to are Ahiritola ghat, Nimtala ghat, Mayer ghat, Sutanuti ghat, Kumortuli ghat and Cosipore ghat. Photographs by way of evidence have filed which show the amount of filth that has been littered all along the ghats.