The National Green Tribunal has imposed a penalty of over ₹2,000 crore on the Punjab government for its failure to treat solid and liquid waste, leading to a huge gap in their generation and treatment.
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A bench headed by NGT chairperson justice AK Goel said corrective action cannot wait for an indefinite period and health issues can’t be deferred for long.
“Responsibility of the state is to have a comprehensive plan to control pollution which is its absolute liability, and which is not being understood.
“If there is deficit in budgetary allocations, it is for the state and the state alone to have suitable planning by reducing cost or augmenting resources,” the bench said.
It said that the compliance of environmental norms on the subject of waste management has to be high on priority.
According to the NGT, the total compensation is rounded off at ₹2,180 crore.
Out of this, the Punjab government has already deposited with the tribunal ₹100 crore for its failure to prevent discharge of untreated sewage and solid waste.
“The remaining amount of ₹2,080 crore may be deposited by the State of Punjab in a separate ring-fenced account within two months,” the bench said.
The NGT is monitoring compliance of Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and other environmental issues by states and Union territories.