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NGT directs states, UTs to designate nodal agency for protection of water bodies

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Sunday directed all States and Union Territories (UT) to designate a nodal agency for restoration of water bodies.
NGT directs states, UTs to designate nodal agency for protection of water bodies

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Sunday directed all States and Union Territories (UT) to designate a nodal agency for restoration of water bodies.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that under the oversight of Chief Secretaries of the States/UTs, the designated nodal agency may hold its meeting not later than January 31 to take stock of the situation and plan further steps, including directions to district authorities for further course of action up to panchayat levels.

The Bench also directed nodal agency to evolve monitoring mechsm as well as grievance redressal mechsm (GRM).

The bench was hearing an application filed by Lt. Col. Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi, which has sought identification, protection and restoration of water bodies in Gurgaon, Haryana.

The NGT extended the scope of the application to the entire state and then to the entire country, in the interest of protection of the environment.

The tribunal asked the Central Monitoring Committee, formed for monitoring remediation of 351 polluted river stretches, to monitor the steps for restoration of water bodies by all states periodically, at least thrice in a year.

"The CMC for monitoring remediation of 351 polluted river stretches, headed by the Secretary, MoJS may monitor the steps for restoration of water bodies by all the States periodically, at least thrice in a year. First such monitoring may take place by March 31, 2021," the Bench said.

It also said that the protection of water bodies serves great public purpose and is essential for protection of the environment.

"It helps not only aesthetics but also water availability, aquatic life, micro climate, recharge of ground water and maintaining e-flow of the rivers. Under the Public Trust Doctrine, the State has to act as trustee of the water bodies to protect them for the public use and enjoyment for current and future generations," the NGT said.

( With inputs from ANI )

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