New Delhi, June 21: The NGT has imposed an interim penalty of ₹10 lakh on the Karnataka government over pollution in the Kithiganahalli lake, near Bommasandra in Bengaluru, stating that a criminal offence is being committed by the authorities in not stopping the discharge of pollutants into waterbodies. 

A bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also slapped a fine of ₹5 lakh on the Municipal Council of Bommasandra for failure to discharge its duties, The Hindu reported.

“Failure of important constitutional obligation by the municipal council as well as apathy and defiance of orders of this tribunal and the Supreme Court by State authorities is at the cost of environment and public health and is very unfortunate for which prompt remedial action must be taken and accountability of erring officers fixed,” the bench said.

The NGT said only writing a letter is not compliance of the law and the stand taken by the authorities concerned can hardly be described as a responsible one. The discharge of untreated sewage into waterbodies causes huge damage and the prevention of the same is the duty of the State authorities as the trustees of people’s rights, the tribunal said, adding that such duty is being clearly breached.

“In view of the above for the damage caused to the environment, the State of Karnataka and Municipal Council, Bommasandra are held liable to pay interim compensation assessed on ad-hoc basis at ₹15 lakh. Karnataka is liable to pay ₹10 lakh and the Municipal Council, Bommasandra, is liable to pay ₹5 lakh. Final compensation will be determined after hearing the State and the municipal council,” the bench said.

If necessary, an expert committee will be appointed and it would be open to the State and the municipal council to recover the amount from the erring officers, the tribunal added.

The amount of interim compensation is liable to be deposited with the CPCB within a month and maybe spent for restoration of the environment, the bench said. The green panel was hearing a plea filed by Sanjay Rao and others seeking action against pollution in the Kithiganahalli lake due to dumping of garbage.

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