A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said according to the Chief Secretary’s report there was a gap of around 1,500 million litres per day (MLD) in sewage generation and treatment.
The bench, also comprising Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A Senthil Vel, said compliance with environmental norms on the subject of waste management had to be on high priority.
It said it was high time that the state realised its duty to the law and to citizens and adopted further monitoring at its own level.
The first change required was to set up a centralised single-window mechanism for planning, capacity building, and monitoring of waste management at the state level, the bench said.
The single-window mechanism had to be headed by an officer of the rank of Additional Chief Secretary with representation from the departments of Urban Development, Rural Development, Environment and Forest, Agriculture, Water Resources, Fisheries and Industries, the bench added.
Noting the gap in sewage generation and treatment, the bench said in normal circumstances, the state was liable to pay compensation of Rs 3,000 crore at the scale of compensation fixed in other States.
However, the green panel noted that the state had already allocated over Rs 9,000 crore on the said subject.
“The state has made provision for Rs 9,688 crores in a ring-fenced manner for wastewater treatment and in these circumstances, there does not appear to be a case for levy of compensation,” the NGT said.
“But the state will be bound by this stand and allocation of funds and must make meaningful progress in the matter in the next six months,” the NGT added.
The tribunal also directed the Chief Secretary to file a six-monthly progress report.
NGT is monitoring compliance with Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and other environmental issues by states and Union territories.