The bench, led by NGT Chairman Attorney General AK Goel, said there was a gap of about 1,500 million liters per day (MLD) in sewage generation and treatment, according to the secretary’s report.
The bench, composed of Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A Senthil Vel, said compliance with environmental standards on waste management should be a top priority.
He said it was time for the country to recognize its obligations to the law and its citizens and to adopt greater oversight at its own level.
The first change needed was to set up a centralized, single-window mechanism for planning, capacity building and monitoring of waste management at the state level, Bench said.
The single window mechanism had to be headed by a deputy secretary-level official, including representatives from the sectors of urban development, rural development, environment and forestry, agriculture, water resources, fisheries and industry, Bench said. added.
Noting the gap between sewage generation and treatment, Bench said that under normal circumstances the state would be responsible for paying compensation of 3,000 kroner on the fixed compensation scale in other states.
However, the Green Panel noted that the state has already allocated Rs 900 billion for the matter.
NGT said, “The state has set aside Rs 968.8 crore for wastewater treatment in a ring-fence scheme and there appears to be no case for imposing compensation under such circumstances.”
“However, the state is bound by this position and allocation of funds, and must make meaningful progress on this issue over the next six months,” the NGT added.
The court also directed the Commissioner to submit progress reports every six months.
NGT monitors compliance with the Municipal Solid Waste Management Regulations 2016 and other environmental issues by states and federal territories.