Noting disobedience of its order on air pollution by the two NE states, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed chief secretaries of Assam and Nagaland to submit their clean air action plans by next month or pay Rs 1 crore each. All the states/UTs were supposed to submit plans with respect to cities in the list of 102 ‘non-attainment’ ones to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) by December 31, 2018, and get it approved by January 31.
These two states along with four other states from other parts of India, however, failed to comply with the tribunal’s order of October 8, 2018, despite repeated reminders. ‘If such action plans are not furnished till April 30, the states will be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs 1 crore each,’ an NGT bench headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel stated in an order on March 15. ‘The states, where action plans are found to be deficient and deficiencies are not removed till April 30, will be liable to pay Rs 25 lakh each,’ it added.
Noting that non-compliance of its order was a ‘criminal offence’ under Section 26 of the NGT Act, the tribunal in its March 15 order brought it to the notice of authorities that head of department, in case of state/UT government, is deemed to be guilty of such offence.
The action plans must include components like identification of source of air pollution and its apportionment, strengthening of air quality monitoring system and steps to be taken to check different sources of pollution within specific timelines.