NGT directs States, UTs to set up nodal agencies to protect, restore waterbodies

Rainwater harvesting
Rainwater harvesting

Following a plea seeking identification, protection and restoration of waterbodies in Gurugram, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has expanded the scope of the petition and directed all States and Union Territories to designate a nodal agency under respective chief secretaries within a month.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the nodal agencies to convene a meeting by January 31 to “take stock of the situation” and plan further steps, including directions to district authorities for further course of action. It also directed the nodal agencies to evolve a monitoring and grievance redressal mechanism.

Rainwater harvesting

Taking note of a report furnished by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on rainwater harvesting, the Bench observed, “It appears that the CPCB has not appreciated the direction of this Tribunal on the subject. While rainwater harvesting maybe required in all buildings and other places in urban areas, in the present context, the Tribunal has directed setting up of such facilities in sub-water sheds along ponds for utilisation of surplus rainwater for restoration of the ponds which have become dry and for augmenting other ponds.”

Stating that there was a need for “continuous planning and monitoring” at the national, State and district levels, the panel observed that observations of the CPCB and an oversight committee needed to be acted upon.

“As suggested by the CPCB, a single agency needs to be set up in every State and Union Territory within one month. This work may either be assigned to the Wetland Authority of the state or the River Rejuvenation Committee or to any other designated authority such as the Secretary, Irrigation and Public Health or Water Resources,” the Bench said.

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