Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (February 19, 2024)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal

Construction of water reservoirs at Fergusson College Hill essential to satisfy city’s growing water demand: Pune Municipal Corporation to NGT

Pune Municipal Corporation February 16 told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) the construction of threewater reservoirs at the Fergusson College Hill was essential in the public interest and all requisite permissions were obtained for the project. PMC would be abiding by the conditions imposed by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The water demand is based on the various land uses according to the provisions made in the City Development Plan such as commercial use, education use, hospital use, residential use, slums, non-revenue water, losses and other factors. The estimated amount of water tank construction was Rs 235.95 crore of which 50 per cent subsidy (Rs 117.97 crore) has been sanctioned by the Maharashtra government for the work of the said tanks under the Amrut scheme.

“Engineering analysis has been carried out for satisfying the water demand of the population from 2022 to 2047 and accordingly the highest location is selected to distribute water by gravity. There is no other alternative piece of land suitable to construct these water reservoirs in order to cater water in the water zones in the vicinity of the hill,” noted the affidavit by the Pune Municipal Corporation.

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Pumping of around 18.5 million litres of water per day over 8.5 square kilometres area, instead of building water tanks on hills will have a larger impact on the environment due to huge power consumption, the report added.

Sangli, Miraj and Kupwad City Municipal Corporation to pay Rs 90 crore environmental compensation

Sangli, Miraj and Kupwad City Municipal Corporation have been asked to pay Rs 90 crore in environmental damage compensation by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

NGT had ordered a fine on the civic body in a matter related topollution of River Krishna by discharge of untreated effluent by several industries situated near Mouje Digraj, Palus to Sangli area in Sangli district.

MPCB calculated the compensation after the NGT direction of November 29, 2023.

NGT directs authorities to prevent illegal stone quarrying in Birbhum

The NGT February 16 directed the additional chief secretary, department of environment, West Bengal and district magistrate, Birbhum to take immediate steps to preventillegal mining in Mouza-Madna, Birbhum district and file an affidavit. The court directed that the affidavit be filed before the next date of listing on April 3, 2024.

The Committee report on affidavit, filed by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board February 15, 2024, stated that there is evidence of illegal extraction beyond the plots cited in the original application and the district administration should fix responsibility, ascertain the quantum of rock extracted illegally and estimate the amount of revenue loss.

Further, while unlawful quarrying activities in the area have left the surroundings derelict to a significant extent, the dereliction caused by the quarrying activities can be mitigated to a significant extent but cannot be reversed through human intervention, as such necessary reclamation may be undertaken at the earliest.

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