National Green Tribunal Current Affairs

Government allows NGT to form one-member benches

The Union Environment Ministry has allowed NGT Chairperson to “constitute a single-member bench” in “exceptional circumstances”. It has amended National Green Tribunal (Practices and Procedure) Rules, 2011 and issued notification. However, it has not defined “exceptional circumstances”.

This move will address festering problem of vacancies in NGT. According to earlier rules, NGT bench consisted of “two or more members” with at least one judicial member and another expert. The balance of judicial and independent experts was necessary to ensure that technical aspects of disputes were adequately addressed.

National Green Tribunal (NGT)

The NGT was established in 2010 under National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

It specialises in adjudicating on matters relating to environment, forests and harm to people or property due to neglect of environmental obligations of infrastructure projects.

It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. It also includes enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith.

It adjudicates matters relating to Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991; Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

The NGT is guided by principles of natural justice and not bound by procedure laid down under Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. It is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing. New Delhi is Principal Place of Sitting NGT. Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are other regional sitting of Tribunal.

Tags:

Madhya Pradesh bans Sand Excavation in Narmada River

The State Government of Madhya Pradesh has put an indefinite ban on the sand excavation in the Narmada River. This announcement has been made by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal. The government has also set up a committee to suggest the scientific ways of mining the rivers. This committee will submit the report to state government after exploring ways for sand excavation without harming rivers. The government will also promote manufactured sand (made by mixing stones).

Background

Illegal sand mining is one of the serious law & order and environmental issues in several states of India including Madhya Pradesh. The business has flourished mainly because of nexus between sand mafia, officers and politicians. Many people including police officers and activists have lost their lives while making attempts to check this illegal activity. The Chief Minister was has been travelling along side Narmada River to make “Save Narmada” a people’s movement through his “Namami Narmada Yatra”. However, in February 2017, his government had faced embarrassment when a company belonging to nephew of chief minister was alleged to be engaged in illegal mining.

The issue of illegal mining in Narmada was sub-judice in state High Court but in July 2015, it was transferred to National Green Tribunal. On the basis of a complaint by Medha Patkar (of Narmada Bachao Aandolan), the NGT had sent a team to investigate the matter. After investigation, NGT had directed state government to take strong measures and report the progress.

About Narmada River

Narmada (giver of pleasure), is one of the largest rivers of India, originating in Amarkantak Hills and flowing through Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is third largest river after Ganga and Godavari to flow within political boundaries of India. It flows in a rift valley between the Satpura and Vindhya Ranges; and serves as lifeline of Madhya Pradesh.  Its basin covers large areas in the states of Madhya Pradesh (86%), Gujarat (14%) and a smaller area (2%) in Maharashtra. In the river course of 1,312 km, there are 41 tributaries, out of which 22 are from the Satpuda range and the rest on the right bank are from the Vindhya Range. Geologically, Narmada River is older than the river Ganges. In Puranas, it has been mentioned as Rewa. In Indian history, the river has played role to divide North India (Uttarpatha) from South India (Dakshinpatha). The Chalukya emperor Pulakeshin-II had defeated emperor Harshavardhana on the banks of Narmada River, thus forcing him to agree this river as his southern border after this war.

Tags:

123