The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority to submit a "further action taken report" regarding the sewerage network across 93 villages in Greater Noida within three months.

A Bench comprising Justice Sheo Kumar Singh (Chairperson), Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi (Judicial Member) and Dr. A. Senthil Vel (Expert Member) stated,

“Further action taken report be submitted to this Tribunal by the GNIDA within three months by e-mail at [email protected] preferably in the form of searchable PDF/ OCR Support PDF and not in the form of Image PDF.”

The issue raised in this application pertains to the violation of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, specifically the discharge of sewage onto open lands, roads, internal lanes, and stormwater drains across 93 villages in Greater Noida.

Advocate Akash Vashishtha appeared for the Applicants and Advocates Atif Suhrawardy and Daleep Dhyani appeared for the Respondents.

A joint Committee was convened to address the matter. In their review, it was noted that the main report did not adequately incorporate observations from inspection reports. The inspection reports revealed that sewage was not only flowing into drains but also overflowing into ponds, a fact omitted in the main report. The Committee recommended a proper drainage system to prevent sewage overflow into natural ponds, emphasizing the need to protect and keep these ponds free from pollution. Decentralized sewage systems were suggested, with treated waste water stored in ponds for landscaping. It was clear that the existing sewerage network for 80 villages was inadequate, with only 16 fecal sludge receiving points. The proposal of having at least one sludge receiving point in each village was brought forth. Additionally, the establishment of a decentralized sewerage system in the villages was deemed necessary. The proper management of septage was highlighted, to be monitored by designated authorities or regulatory bodies.

While it was observed that all villages had internal drainages, these were not yet connected to the main sewer line, which ultimately should lead to the established 174 MLD (Million Liters per Day) Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). Currently, only 110-120 MLD of sewage was being treated against the plant's full capacity, necessitating the connection of all households and establishments to the sewer system to avoid rendering the infrastructure ineffective. The report stressed that no wastewater should be allowed to enter the ponds, and a remediation plan for the ponds was required within three months to improve water quality.

Sanitation and proper hygiene in these villages were considered essential for a clean environment and the protection of public health, in accordance with constitutional provisions. Despite these villages being practically part of the urban area surrounding Greater Noida, the sewerage systems were in need of significant upgrades. The report suggested that appropriate charges could be collected to encourage inhabitants to connect to the sewerage system.

The Tribunal called for an action taken report from the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) within three months. It was suggested that the report should be submitted via email in a searchable PDF/OCR supported format, not as image PDFs. It was emphasized that treated sewage water should be used for non-potable purposes such as agriculture and road washing. The GNIDA was encouraged to persuade residents to get sewerage connections, and the authorities were urged to explore levying charges for these services. The Tribunal requested a time-bound completion of the necessary work.

It was noted that the GNIDA's action plan included providing sewerage connections free of cost, deploying de-sludging vehicles, and aiming for 100% connectivity within a five-year period, they faced challenges in getting residents to cooperate in obtaining sewer connections. Efforts were being made to connect the remaining villages with the STPs, and the next action taken report is due on November 03, 2023.

Cause Title: Pradeep Kumar & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.

Click here to read/download Order