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NGT Imposes Rs 900 Crore Compensation Cost on Delhi for Unprocessed Waste at Three Landfills

The NGT calculated the amount at Rs 300/tonne of waste at the three landfills.

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: NDTV

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has "imposed an environmental compensation amount of Rs 900 crore" on the National Capital Territory of Delhi concerning the unprocessed waste at three landfills at Okhla, Bhalswa, and Ghazipur. According to the NGT order, "funds can be raised in an appropriate manner from the generators of waste, violators, erring officers, corporates and if necessary and so decided from a part of the land under the garbage."

The order notes that the compensation amount would be used for "restoration measures to recover the land." These measures would include "scientific disposal" of the accumulated garbage, fire control measures, construction of a boundary wall, and a leachate treatment facility.

The Chief Secretary would be responsible for the deposit of the amount, which is to be made within one month. The NGT calculated the amount at Rs 300/tonne of waste at the three landfills. The Chairperson Bench of the NGT heard the case on Tuesday.

Earlier in 2022, the regulatory body had considered the landfills' matter following the media reports about fires at Bhalswa and Ghazipur dumpsites. The NGT had constituted a committee headed by SP Garg, a former Delhi High Court judge, to recommend the course of action.

"There is serious violation of rights of citizens and failure of public trust doctrine to protect environment and public health by the concerned authorities, including the Delhi government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Steps taken so far do not meet the mandate of law and are not commensurate to the grim factual emergency situation constantly threatening the safety and health of citizens and the environment with no accountability of officers entrusted with the task…emergency measures are called for to remedy the situation with a new and sensitive approach," the order states.

It further adds that the whole situation reflects an environmental emergency in the national capital, and a delay in restoration measures would be "detrimental to the public interest." The order also highlights how the land would be used once the garbage is cleared off it.

"To compensate the affected citizens of the area, the authorities are under obligation to develop dense forest in at least one-third of the land occupied by dumpsite," the order notes. Furthermore, a portion of the land would be utilized to establish waste management facilities; the remaining land could be used for other purposes.

This environmental compensation is the third of such nature after Maharashtra was asked to pay Rs 1,200 crore and Rajasthan was asked to pay Rs 555 crore.

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