NGT says no improvement in Telangana’s historic lake, warns of coercive measures

New Delhi: Even after two years of its order the situation of the historic Bum-Rukn-ud-Dowla lake in Telangana has not improved, the National Green Tribunal has said and directed the Urban Development secretary and the member of state pollution control board (PCB) to show cause as to why coercive measures be not taken against them.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel granted last opportunity for compliance and directed the officials to remain personally present by video conferencing on the next date of hearing.

“We require the Secretary of the concerned Departments, i.e., Local Bodies/Urban Development/Local Self Department and the Member Secretary, State PCB to remain personally present by video conferencing on the next date to show cause way of coercive measures laid down under Sections 25 and 26 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT Act).

“Under Section 26 of the NGT Act, violation of order of this Tribunal is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment up to three years and fine up to Rs. 10 crores. Under Section 25 of the NGT Act, 2010, the order is executable at the decree of the Civil Court,” the bench said.

The tribunal said that under Section 51 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, there is provision for civil imprisonment or any other order.

“Any other order can include stopping of salary of the erring officers. While giving compliance status, it may be made clear that the sewage being discharged into lake stands diverted to the destined Sewage Treatment Plant, the treated sewage was being utilised and the water quality of lake sewage being discharged into lake stood diverted to destined STP and treated sewage is utilised and water quality of lake had improved,” the green panel said.

The matter is listed for next hearing on October 21, 2021.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by activist Lubna Sarwath seeking restoration of Bum-Rukn-ud-Dowla a historic heritage water body of around 104 acres, opposite National Police Academy, Shivrampally, Hyderabad.

On receiving a complaint that water body was being destroyed by dumping of waste and sewage and encroachment, the NGT had directed the Urban Development Department of Telangana and the State PCB to look into the matter.