press trust of india
New Delhi, 5 December
The National Green Tribunal today restrained anyone from carrying out any construction on a beach in Puri in Odisha after it was informed that a sewage line has been built there by the city’s civic agency.
“We restrain any party or authority from carrying out any construction on sea beach/buffer zone at Puri,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said and expressed surprise over the city municipality laying down a sewage line on the beach, saying “this could lead to a great disaster”.
It also directed the Puri municipality to show how the sewage of the entire city is collected, handled and treated and whether there is any proposal to set up a sewage treatment plant there. It also sought a layout of the drainage system there.
The tribunal also noted that garbage is being thrown around the city in open drains and on the beach.
The NGT also took note of the pictures submitted by the petitioner, Subhas Dutta, showing “indiscriminate construction” on the Puri sea beach. The tribunal issued the directions after observing that the panel, set up by it to monitor the air and water pollution in the city, in its interim report has not dealt with the issue of sewage system of Puri and directed the committee to submit its final report by February 3, 2014.
The NGT had constituted the committee, headed by Chief Secretary of Odisha, and directed it to visit Puri town to examine all environmental issues that have been stated by Dutta in his plea as well as in the report of the Odisha Pollution Control Board (OPCB).
The OPCB which had inspected the levels of air and water pollution around the Sri Jagannath temple as well as in the city of Puri as a whole, and said the findings reveal “alarming facts and devastating results”.
The tribunal listed the matter on January 15, 2014 for directions.