The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the Union Environment Ministry for not furnishing proper data on monitoring mechanism for compliance of conditions of environment clearance granted by the Ministry.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed a senior official of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to appear before the tribunal on April 29.
“The data furnished is wholly inadequate to evaluate the effectiveness of functioning of mechanism. Adequate mechanism is the mandate of “precautionary principle” and “sustainable development” to be enforced by this tribunal. It appears that either the data is being withheld or the response of the officer is otherwise inadequate,” the Bench observed.
The observations came following submissions by the Ministry that “a mechanism existed to periodically monitor the compliance of environmental clearance conditions which was being strengthened”. The tribunal had in January directed the MoEF to furnish data on the same following which it submitted that a total of 6,779 projects were monitored between 2013-2014 and 2018-19.
The Ministry informed the Bench that while in 2013-14, 843 projects were monitored, in 2018-19, it was 1,002.
Extent of defaults
“The data merely mentions figures of the projects monitored, without mentioning the extent of defaults found and further action taken, in absence of which the effectiveness of monitoring mechanism cannot be assessed,” the Bench observed.
Following the observations, the NGT asked the officer concerned to be present before the tribunal with the “entire relevant data”.