Irked NGT issues show-cause notice to Raj urban development secretary

Irked with failure to comply with its directions, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a show-cause notice to the Secretary of Urban Development Department, Rajasthan and also directed local top police officer to secure his presence during the next hearing.

The show-case notice against the secretary of Urban Development Department was issued on Wednesday for not appearing before the tribunal despite its order for the same.

The Tribunal’s directive came while hearing a petition alleging the discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluents on the agriculture lands in Nokha village of Bikaner district in Rajasthan.

The petitioners had in 2019 taken the grievance about discharge of untreated sewage and effluents on the agriculture land at Nokha village to the Green Tribunal.

“Since the Secretary, local bodies have failed to appear by video conferencing in compliance with order dated June 10, 2021, we are forced to issue show-cause notice requiring him to explain why action be not taken for such failure by appearing in person on the next date,” NGT’s principal bench said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Tribunal has asked the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Jaipur to ensure the presence of Secretary, Urban Development for next hearing, scheduled for January 6, 2022.

“To secure his presence by video conferencing, we issue a bailable warrant to be executed by SSP Jaipur through the police officers concerned for a sum of Rs 5,000,” the Tribunal order said.

During the hearing on September 21, the Tribunal had pointed out that it had directed that the law be monitored at the level of the Chief Secretary by constituting a special cell. The Tribunal had also laid down the scale of compensation of Rs 10 lakh per month for delay in setting up of the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and Rs 5 lakh per month for delay in providing interim remediation measures in the matter to the villagers.

“Unfortunately, in the present case, the orders delaying the remedial action include higher officers, but no prosecution initiated by the State PCB. This is a dangerous trend to violate the law and to disrespect the rule of law, which calls for stringent action, if the rule of law is to prevail,” the Tribunal said.

The NGT had given last warning to the state (Rajasthan) authorities to take remedial action to prevent discharge of untreated effluents on the agriculture land on June 12.