Hyderabad: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set up a committee to monitor the steps being taken to clean Musi river. It will be headed by Justice Vilas Afzalpurkar, a former judge of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court.

The NGT has directed the committee to submit the first report within four months and has recommended the completion of the Musi river clean-up within a year.

“Taking into account the overall unsatisfactory state of affairs, we consider it necessary to constitute a monitoring committee for the remedial action to be taken in respect of river Musi at Hyderabad,” said the NGT in its order.

In June 2018, Mohammed Nayeem Pasha had filed the complaint with the NGT alleging that industrial and domestic sewage was being discharged into the river or the drains connected to the river. Mr. Pasha had further alleged that the flood plain zones were being encroached and construction and demolition waste and solid waste were being dumped in the river. According to reports, the river’s water quality is not even fit for irrigation as per the water quality criteria of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

In April 2019, the tribunal had noted the stand of the municipal administration/urban development department of Telangana that stated that steps taken included the construction of sewage treatment plants (STPs) and laying of sewer lines but the existing capacity of the STPs were inadequate. After that, the Central Pollution Control Board had submitted its reply.

Again in December 2019, noticing the violation of environmental norms and suggesting remedial action, the NGT had said, “The report of CPCB dated 28 June 2019 clearly indicates that only 49 per cent of the sewage generated in the city is treated and the remaining 51 per cent of untreated sewage is discharged directly into river Musi. The STPs are not granted with the consents under the Water Act and the five STPs are not complying with the discharged norms out of 20 operational STPs.” After that, the tribunal had asked the state to take action on the matter.

In June 2020, the NGT again found that the steps taken were not adequate and were only at the proposal stage. On 21 September, the NGT set up a committee headed by Justice Vilas Afzalpurkar along with representatives of the CPCB and the state pollution control board, and Hyderabad district collector.

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