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Despite NGT directive, Santragachi jheel yet to be cleaned

The direction of the principal bench of NGT stating work has been completed in two and a half years emanated from a petition that Santragachi jheel stated to be a bird sanctuary was being polluted due to dumping of municipal and plastic waste and building waste material. It was also alleged that construction was on the northern side of the water body.

TIRTHANKAR MITRA | Kolkata |

Time is of the essence be it to reduce an wound to a scar or cleaning up a water body shrinking under the onslaught of disposal of waste and encroachment of hyacinth.

The principal bench of National Green Tribunal pointed out in its direction that a time span of two and a half years was sufficient to clean up this waterbody in Howrah. It is visited by thousands of migratory birds every winter drawing bird watchers in droves to its banks. In a direction this month, NGT’s principal bench of Justice (retired) S P Wangdi and Mr Sidhanta Das expressed hope that since two and a half years have passed since the last date of hearing, we expect the entire issue has been resolved and the work completed.

It was on 15 December, 2017 that the matter was last heard.

The fact remains that precious little was done during the past two and a half years following the green tribunal’s direction, petitioner Subhas Datta alleged. The progress of the growth of water hyacinth and the disposal of waste on Santragachi jheel, described to be a bird sanctuary in the petition continues, he further alleged.

The direction of the principal bench of NGT stating work has been completed in two and a half years emanated from a petition that Santragachi jheel stated to be a bird sanctuary was being polluted due to dumping of municipal and plastic waste and building waste material. It was also alleged that construction was on the northern side of the water body.

There was encroachment and growth of water hyacinth. Several directions from NGT were passed in December, 2017 to clean up the water body. The railways would provide for the land for the setting up of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) for treatment of sewage diverted away from the jheel.

The cost of the project would be shared between HMC and railways in the ratio of contribution of sewage, it was directed.