The National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata) in a bid to combat Pollution has issued a slew of directions to the State Government. NGT has inter alia directed that all the old commercial and private vehicles in the State of West Bengal be phased out in the next six months.

"The State Government must ensure that the public transport vehicles below BS-IV are phased out in the next six months so that after six months only BS-VI vehicles would ply in the State of West Bengal including the cities of Kolkata and Howrah.", the Bench of Justice B. Amit Sthalekar and Expert Member Saibal Dasgupta directed.

With regard to Air Pollution in Kolkata and Howrah, the Bench observed thus "On the directions of the Tribunal the West Bengal Pollution Control Board had engaged CSIR-NEERI to carry out Source Apportionment Study and Development of Emission Inventory in the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah. The said Report has been finalized and Action Plan needs to be implemented with immediate effect."

With regard to Noise Pollution, NGT held that Sound Limiters must be used in all Sound Systems/Public Address Systems for effective control of noise pollution. Further it also directed the Traffic Police to prosecute the violators of noise norms like modified motorcycles, pressure horns etc.

On disposal of municipal solid waste the bench noted "Legacy waste dumped in Dhapa and other such areas throughout the State of West Bengal requires to be treated by Bio-Mining/Bio-remediation within the specific time frame."

"Bio-mining/Bio-remediation of legacy waste should be carried out in a manner where the quantum of Bio remediation should exceed the quantum of waste being dumped to ensure successful clearance of the site by Bioremediation within the specified timeline.", NGT directed further.

The application was filed by one Subhas Datta who had appeared before the Bench in person and Advocate Nayan Chand Bihani appeared for the state and for Ministry of Environment. West Bengal Pollution Control Board was represented by Advocate Dipanjan Ghosh and Advocate Prithwish Basu appeared for Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

Earlier NGT had directed the Applicant to crystallize the issues through an affidavit, particularly in view of the various affidavits and action taken reports filed by the Department of Environment, State of West Bengal and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. In response to which the Applicant had stated that the concerned authorities had not spelt out anything in their affidavits about the Action Plan to combat the sources of pollution and the Action Taken thereon.

Cause Title- Subhas Datta v. State of West Bengal & Ors.

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