Thursday, March 30

Activist readies petition on ‘wilful violation’ of NGT order

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Activist Subhas Datta will file a petition before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday, highlighting the ‘wilful noncompliance’ of its directions on Rabindra Sarobar. Datta will seek specific action, including stripping the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) of its role as the Lake custodian, fixing individual responsibility and penalising them for the violation.

Datta, whose petition at the NGT led to the order against holding any religious or social function at Rabindra Sarobar to protect the biodiversity of the Lake of national importance, said the blatant violation of the order needed a strong response from the NGT to ensure that judicial orders are not flouted with such impunity in future.

“What happened on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning is clear contempt of court. I have photographic evidence that lights were installed and bamboo ladders set up along the water edge before devotees began to arrive. Policemen on the spot were mere bystanders as devotees streamed in. Even when I was lodging a complaint at the Rabindra Sarobar police station, the entry of devotees were plainly visible on CCTV there,” Datta said.

In the application to be prepared by Friday for filing on Monday, Datta will seek revoking of the custodial power from KMDA for its failure to maintain and protect the Lake. He will also call for entrusting the protection of the Lake to Central Industrial Security Force that was last year given charge of protecting Victoria Memorial Hall.

Given the loss caused to biodiversity, air quality and water quality at the Lake, Datta will urge NGT to fix responsibility and recommend penalty to be imposed individually. Datta will also call for a fresh directive from the NGT, asking the concerned authorities to ensure that there is no recurrence of what happened during Chhath Puja and take appropriate measures to ensure that resident and migratory birds are not disturbed any further.

“On Friday, we will apply to the court NGT for certified copies of all orders related to Chhath Puja ban at Sarobar. If we don’t get redressal from NGT, we will move Supreme Court,” said Rashtriya Bihari Samaj president Mani Prasad Singh.

Source: Times of India

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