Concerned over alarming levels of pollution around the famous Sri Jagannath Temple in Odisha, the National Green Tribunal today directed the authorities there to take appropriate steps to restore the environment as well to prevent its degradation any further.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took note of a report submitted by the Odisha Pollution Control Board, which had inspected the levels of air and water pollution around the temple as well as in the city of Puri as a whole, and said the findings reveal "alarming facts and devastating results". "The Board had visited Puri town during pendency of the present application before the tribunal. It has submitted a detailed report. This report reveals the alarming facts. The water quality parameters were not only beyond the prescribed parameters but show devastating results.
"In this Report it has also been stated that the air quality has been affected since smoke from the cremation ground is carried along by the strong sea breeze and gets trapped in the building in the vicinity. Inspecting team has noticed that the present sewage collection, treatment, disposal system is practically defunct," the bench said.
It directed "all the authorities including the Board to take appropriate steps to restore the environment as well as to prevent further degradation of the environment." The bench also constituted a committee headed by Chief Secretary of Odisha and directed the panel to visit Puri town to examine all the environmental issues that have been stated by the applicant, Subhas Datta in his plea as well as in the report of the Odisha Pollution Control Board. "The committee will also suggest various means and methods that are to be adopted for preventing and controlling the pollution i.e. air, water solid wastes and environment in the entire city of Puri more particularly from the Swargadwar (cremation ground) and Lord Jagannath Temple," the NGT said.