Haryana government today earned the ire of National Green Tribunal (NGT) which directed senior officials irrigation and health departments to appear before it to explain why untreated waste continued to be pumped into a Gurgaon village in violation of its orders.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar sought the presence of the Principal Secretaries after residents of village Khalilpur alleged that Haryana Minister Captain Ajay Yadav was interfering in the matter.
"Let your Principal Secretaries be here. That is the real solution, when ministers are interfering," the bench said and listed the matter on September 25, while brushing aside the plea of the state's irrigation department that the matter will be resolved in three months time.
"You told the Punjab and Haryana High Court last year that in six months you will set up the sewage treatment plant (in Rewari district). Let the Principal Secretary of Public Health Department and Principal Secretary of Irrigation Department, Haryana be present on September 25," it said.
The tribunal was displeased with the state authorities who had earlier assured the bench that untreated waste would not be discharged into the village's pond and instead would be diverted to a barren land a few kilometres away.
During the hearing, advocate Kaushal Yadav, appearing for the villagers, contended that at present 80 per cent of the untreated sewage generated from Rewari district is being dumped into the village pond.
The villagers alleged that the waste which was being dumped in a barren land as per NGT's order, has again been diverted to their area due to the interference of Captain Yadav, who earlier held irrigation portfolio and is now the Minister of Power, Forests and Environment in the Haryana government.
They also alleged that several children have fallen sick as a result of waste being dumped in the village pond.
The claims were disputed by the irrigation department, which also said only 20-50 per cent of the waste is discharged into the village. They were silent regarding the allegation of interference by the minister.
On August 12, 2013, the last date of hearing, the NGT had directed the state and its authorities to take steps to comply with all its previous directions.
Prior to that, on July 25, the bench had directed the state authorities to "completely block the point at culvert so that no waste and untreated water can enter village Khalilpur from that direction and to remove the accumulated water with pump and carry the waste and untreated water from the pond and put it at the site which has been already earmarked...".
The tribunal had given two weeks time to complete the exercise.
The NGT had passed the order after a local commissioner appointed by it to inspect the area had said in his report that sewage continued to be dumped into the village pond.
On May 16, the tribunal had directed that the sewage treatment plant at district Rewari be completed positively within six months and that sewage discharge into the village "shall not be permitted".
It had also directed that in the interim, a pipeline- which was almost finished- be completely laid within 15 days to discharge the sewage to some barren land which has no village nearby.