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NGT slams Delhi govt over rainwater harvesting system in schools, colleges

NGT slams Delhi govt over rainwater harvesting system in schools, colleges
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New Delhi (PTI) The National Green Tribunal Wednesday slammed the Delhi government for its failure to install rainwater harvesting system in schools and colleges and summoned senior official of the education department with complete records.

A bench of Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore and expert member S S Garbyal expressed surprise over the AAP government’s inability to apprise it about the exact number of schools and colleges in the city.

“What action have you (Delhi govt) taken to install rainwater harvesting system? The tribunal has passed the order on November 16, 2017, and asked you to complete the exercise in two months. Show us what action have you taken?” the bench said.

The lawyer appearing for the Delhi government informed it that out of 1,600 private schools, 901 have installed, while 699 are remaining and out of 742 government schools only 528 have have set up the rainwater harvesting system.

When the bench asked about the number of aided and unaided schools in the city, the lawyer was unable to give details.

When it sought to know the reason for the delay, the lawyer told the tribunal that work was underway and tenders have been issued.

The tribunal said, “You are trying to tell us like a child about the process. Parrot-like reply is coming from the officers. What tender are you talking about? This is a mere excuse.”

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for the Delhi University told the tribunal that out of total 65, six colleges are in the process to install the rainwater harvesting system.

The NGT, however, directed a senior official of the education department to be present before it on January 30, the next date of hearing.

“We direct senior officer of the NCT government concerned with primary, middle and secondary school and higher education to be present before us on the next date of hearing. He shall bring complete details about the case and also list of institutions where rainwater harvesting is not functioning,” the bench said.

The tribunal’s direction came on a plea filed by city resident Mahesh Chandra Saxena seeking implementation of the November 16, 2017 order of the NGT, which had directed the government and also private schools and colleges to install rainwater harvesting systems within two months at their own cost.

Despite the specific direction of the tribunal, they have not submitted the list of buildings, Saxena said.

He claimed that the government departments, educational institutions and residential societies have either not installed rainwater harvesting systems or have systems which are non-functional.

The tribunal had ordered that any institution which fails to install the rainwater harvesting system within the stipulated period would be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

It had directed schools and colleges to approach a committee constituted by it. The committee was to inspect the premises and grant permission to institutions for operating the system.

If it was not possible to install the rainwater harvesting system, the institution should have approached the committee, it had said.

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