GANGA ACTION PLAN AND NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL 1. NATIONAL GANGA RIVER BASIN AUTHORITY Function and Power of NGRBA The Authority has both regulatory and developmental functions. The Authority will take measures for effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga in keeping with sustainable development needs. These include; Development of a river basin management plan; Regulation of activities aimed at prevention, control and abatement of pollution in Ganga to maintain its water quality, and to take measures relevant to river ecology and management in the Ganga basin states; Maintenance of minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga; Measures necessary for planning, financing and execution of programmes for abatement of pollution in the river Ganga including augmentation of sewerage infrastructure, catchment area treatment, protection of flood plains, creating public awareness; Collection, analysis and dissemination of information relating to environmental pollution in the river Ganga; Investigations and research regarding problems of environmental pollution and conservation of the river Ganga; Promotion of water conservation practices including recycling and reuse, rain water harvesting, and decentralised sewage treatment systems; Monitoring and review of the implementation of various programmes or activities taken up for prevention, control and abatement of pollution in the river Ganga; Issue directions under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for the purpose of exercising and performing these functions and for achievement of its objectives. . 2. GANGA ACTION PLAN The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase - I which was taken up as 100% Centrally funded scheme and aimed at preventing the pollution of river Ganga and to improve its water quality. The plan was started in June 1985. The program of river cleaning was extended to other major rivers of the country under two separate schemes of GAP Phase - II and the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). Yamuna and Gomati Action Plans were approved in April 1993 under Ganga Action Plan Phase - II. Programs of other major rivers were subsequently approved in 1995 under NRCP. After launching of NRCP in 1995, it was decided to merge GAP II with NRCP. A notification of this effect was issued on 5.12.96. OBJECTIVE OF GANGA ACTION PLAN PHASE - I .. At the time of launching, the main objective of GAP was to improve the water quality of Ganga to acceptable standards by preventing the pollution load reaching the river. However, as decided in a meeting of the Monitoring Committee in June, 1987 under the Chairmanship of Prof. M. G. K. Menon, then Member, Planning Commission, the objective of GAP was recast as restoring the river water quality to the 'Bathing Class' standard which is as follows: Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) 3 mg/l maximum Dissolved Oxygen (DO) 5 mg/l minimum Total Coliform 10,000 per 100 ml Faecal Coliform 25,00 per 100 ml States and Town Covered in Ganga Action Plan Phase-I: Uttar Pradesh; Hardwar Rishikesh, Faridabad&Fatehgarh, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Mirzapur. Bihar; Chapra, Bhagalpur, Munger, Patna. West Bengal Baharampore, Nabadwip, Hugli Chinsura, Chandan Nagar, Serampore, Bally, Kalyani, Bhatpara, Titagarh, Panihati, Howrah, Calcutta Corpn.Area, Baranagar, Kamarhati, Naihati. OBJECTIVE OF GANGA ACTION PLAN PHASE - II .. The Ganga Action Plan besides aiming at improving the water quality of river Ganga is to serve as a model to demostrate the methodology for improving the water quality of other polluted rivers. Though the river water quality of Ganga has shown discernible improvement, the full impact of the action plan would be visible when the left out works in the 25 class I cities and the works in other class II and class III towns along the river Ganga are taken up. The important tributaries of river Ganga like,Yamuna,Gomati and Damodar which directly discharge into the river Ganga and are heavily polluted are taken up for pollution abatement Programmes. For this purpose, the second phase of Ganga Action Plan was started in stages between 1993 & 1996. Both Central & State Govt. Provided help and had equal Share that is 50:50 in the working of Ganga Action Plan (Phase II). After April 1997 Central Govt. took the full responsibility of this project & sanctioned the total cost Under Ganga Action Plan and other Plans like Yamuna,Gomati and Damodar have also been accepted and the govt.has sanctionedd Rs.2285.48 crore for the same. This money will help in statrting 441 projects in 95 cities under the plan. Implementation of the plan finally commenced w.e.f. 1.4.2001. The funding pattern was changed to 70:30 between centre and state which is continuing at present. State Covered in Ganga Action Plan Phase-II: Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana 3. National Green Tribunal (NGT) The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi- disciplinary issues. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice. The Tribunal's dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same. Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other 4 place of sitting of the Tribunal.