New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) The NGT has directed the AAP government to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs 5 crore within a month for failing to act against illegal scrap units in Mayapuri here.

The green panel also directed an oversight committee headed by former high court judge Justice Pratibha Rani to monitor the working of a seven-member Special Task Force which was formed to take action against the units involved in dismantling of heavy vehicles.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) said it would be open to the Delhi government taking action against erring officers and also recover the amount from the polluters which may act as a deterrent for others involved in similar activities harming public health and the environment.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to furnish a report in the matter on March 11 and ordered him to be personally present on the date.

The NGT noted that the affidavit submitted by the Delhi government showed that no amount was collected from the polluters for damaging the environment despite 34 units being engaged in illegal industrial activity without requisite approvals.

“The above affidavit shows a grim picture of lackadaisical performance by the statutory authorities, including the DPCC (Delhi Pollution Control Committee),” the bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi and K Ramakrishnan, said.

“Its stand that only lessor is to take action and even if there is violation of norms of environment, DPCC has no responsibility is quite deplorable and avoidance of responsibility ignoring the mandate of law under the Water Act and the Air Act,” the bench added.

The tribunal said heavy penalty must be recovered for any illegal polluting unit and in the present case, the authorities not only failed to perform their duties to recover damages caused to public health and the environment but chose to shut their eyes in breach of trust reposed by law.

It said the statutory authorities are trustees of the people and if their failure results in the citizens or the environment getting harmed, then it has to adopt strict approach to make them accountable so that such action acts as a deterrent to prevent further harm.

“Mere passing of orders by the tribunal is of no value unless the same are faithfully executed and the prescribed environmental standards are maintained,” the tribunal said.

“Execution is in the hands of the authority. As an executing court, it is not only the right but also the duty of this tribunal to take such measures as may be necessary to ensure compliance,” it added.

The NGT had taken note of an English newspaper report about the scrap business in Mayapuri.

“Proceedings have been initiated in view of the news item to the effect that there is scrap business at Mayapuri, Delhi, worth Rs 6,000 crores per annum,” it had noted.

“The activities of the said business spew toxic fumes and chemicals and oils are also emitted. Such toxic fumes create severe air pollution affecting public health,” it had added.

The news item said that authorities have failed to take necessary steps of stopping illegal industrial activities resulting in toxic fumes being released in the air.

The illegal activities comprise dismantling equipment, burning of toxic industrial waste, use of gas and electric cutters to cut vehicles, the report said.

The NGT had earlier injuncted units working in Mayapuri from carrying out such activities without taking clearance from the DPCC and authorisation from competent authorities for dealing with hazardous waste.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.