The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday warned that the tanneries at Jajmau near the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh would be shut down and relocated if the tribunal's directions to rejuvenate the river are not strictly followed.
This development comes days after the Supreme Court stayed the Uttarakhand High Court's order entitling the river Ganga and Yamuna the status and rights of a living entity.
The National Green Tribunal in February ruled "not a single drop of the Ganga has been cleaned so far", accusing the government of wasting public money.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed all concerned authorities to commence the work of setting up of sewage treatment plants and installation of anti-pollution devices within four months and complete it within two years. It will make a change in the quality of river Ganga.
In a 543-page judgment on advocate MC Mehta's petition on Ganga pollution, the NGT also directed that no dumping or landfill could come up within 500 metres of the river or its tributaries in the Haridwar-Unnao stretch.
Even in its order, the NGT also observed that more than Rs. 7,000 crore has been spent, but all has gone in vain.
On maintaining the flow of the river, it said the minimum environment flow should not fall "below 20 per cent of the average monthly lean season flow".
It also asked the committee to submit reports at regular intervals.
The green panel has divided the work of cleaning the river into five segments - Gomukh to Haridwar, Haridwar to Unnao (segment B of Phase-I), Unnao to the border of Uttar Pradesh, UP border to the border of Jharkhand and from there to the Bay of Bengal. "Extraction of groundwater should be subject to the CGWA granting permission for such extraction, and that too, only after ensuring that such permission is granted after rigorous water use assessment by the industry.", it said. The committee is headed by Secretary of Water Resources Ministry, and also includes IIT professors and officials from the Uttar Pradesh government. The bench also allowed state governments to raise money from the people, if need be, to fund Ganga clean up.