The National Green Tribunal has directed the Haryana government to ensure that storm water drains in Gurgaon are not covered and kept clean to avoid flooding in the city during Monsoon.

The green panel also asked the state government to prepare an appropriate action plan within six weeks to provide for recovery of fine or penalty from those found polluting the drains.

A storm water drain flushes excess rain and ground water from impermeable surfaces such as those of streets, footpaths and sidewalks.

The tribunal said the action plan may be put up on websites of authorities concerned for suggestions and feedback from the people, which, it said, must be taken into account in the monitoring process.

“We have no hesitation in directing the principal secretary of the Town and Country Planning Department of the State of Haryana in consultation with the State Pollution Control Board and the Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon, to take steps so that storm water drains are not covered, but are de-silted and kept clean,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.

The green panel sought a compliance report on the issue within eight weeks and also asked the authorities to look into the allegation of illegal felling of trees around the Badshahpur drain.

“A copy of this order be sent to the Central Pollution Control Board so that it may issue such directions of general nature as may be relevant and found appropriate throughout India to avoid unnecessary litigation on this aspect,” the bench said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Subhash Gupta and others challenging the coverage of storm water drains in Gurgaon on the ground that it adversely affects the environment.

According to the applicants, untreated sewage continues to flow in most of the drains and finally it goes into the rivers.

The plea contended that flooding of Gurgaon city takes place due to coverage of drains and environmental norms require that the drainage system should be open.