Punjab government ordered to pay Rs 2,180 crore for failing to manage solid waste . NGT: Compensation necessary to fix remaining environmental harm .
CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government has been hit with a significant blow when the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered it to pay a total of Rs 2,180 crore for failing to scientifically manage solid waste and to avoid the discharge of untreated sewage, allowing for the restoration of environmental damage.Since Rs 100 crore has already been paid for failure to prevent the discharge of untreated sewage and to treat solid waste, the Punjab government may deduct the remaining amount of Rs 2,080 crore in a separate ring-fenced account within two months, according to the main bench of the NGT.The amount will be used for rehabilitation projects under the direction of chief secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua.The NGT stated in a 44-page scathing order released on Friday that the award of compensation had become necessary to fix the remaining environmental harm.The tribunal observed that permanent damage must be prevented in the future and that previous damage must be repaired.Start immediately restoring The green tribunal emphasized that the restoration plans must be carried out in all districts, towns, towns, and villages at the earliest opportunity, as scheduled, in a time-bound fashion.It was made clear that if the violations persist, the possibility of having to pay additional compensation will have to be considered.The chief secretary has been directed to guarantee that the instructions are followed by a special senior level nodal secretary with a team of technical experts. The court further stated that it will be open to the state government to source money from generators or contributors to waste, according to the tribunal.According to the NGT, the restoration measures in relation to wastewater treatment and disposal facilities, upgrading facilities, or operations of existing sewage treatment facilities would include maintaining compliance with international requirements, including those of fecal coliform, and ensuring proper fecal sewage and sludge management in rural areas.Compensation Calculation According to the NGT bench, the difference in treatment of liquid waste or sewage of 1,000 million litres per day would amount to Rs 2,000 crore.Un-remediated environmental waste is estimated at 57.6 lakh metric tonnes (MT). The figure of waste will increase to 3.75 lakh MT if multiplied by 365 days (assuming it is remediated within the next year).It can be rounded off to 60 lakh MT.The total compensation for the inability to scientifically handle solid waste comes to Rs 180 crore.Therefore, the total compensation is rounded off to Rs 2,180 crore. Thus, the Polluter Pays principle must be operative beginning January 1, 2021, and compensation must be equal to the damage to the environment and taking into account the cost of remediation.On Thursday, the NGT ensured the personal presence of chief secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua, principal secretary of local government Vivek Pratap Singh, director of culture, science and technology Munish, state mission director Swachh Bharat Mission Urban Isha Kalia, and member secretary of Punjab Pollution Control Board Karunesh Garg.