New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Saturday came down heavily upon Indian Railways over human defecation sand other waste ons tracks and directed authorities in Delhi to expeditiously decide on rehabilitation of slum clusters located near railway tracks.
Slamming Railways, it asked the PSU behemoth to impose fine of Rs 5,000 on those defecating and throwing waste on tracks and act against them effectively.
"You can't keep even 15 km of railway stretch in the capital clean. If you claim the tracks to be clean, how can garbage be there?... We direct all the authorities including the corporations to fully cooperate and ensure that the railway tracks are kept clean, free from municipal solid waste and other waste and dirty water not be collected near the tracks. Let status report be submitted before the tribunal before March 30, the next date of hearing," it said.
The bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Delhi government and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) to expeditiously decide rehabilitation of slum clusters located near railway tracks and directed them to submit complete action plan regarding their relocation.
"The Delhi Development Authority, NCT of Delhi, Railways along with DUSIB shall hold a meeting within two weeks from today and would submit complete action plan to the tribunal in regard to shifting of jhuggis from or adjacent to the tracks by providing alternative accommodation either by way of flats which are stated to be ready or by providing piece of land where NCT of Delhi can construct flats," the bench said.
It asked the Delhi government to utilise the amount of Rs 11 crore, which is lying with it since 2003, with interest for the rehabilitation of jhuggis.
The tribunal directed Delhi government to expeditiously construct toilets near slums on the sites which have already been approved by the Railways.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Railways, told the bench that it was making all possible efforts to keep railway tracks clean in the capital.
She further submitted that photographs placed before the tribunal show the efforts made by the Railways and it will continue and further efforts would be made to plant trees at the end of the railway tracks and/or railway land.
The counsel appearing for Delhi government submitted that in order to stop any human defecation on the railway tracks they are constructing toilets and they have finalised around 14 or 15 sites approximately out of which 7 fall on railway land.
To this, the ASG said that three sites have already been issued No Objection Certificate and the matter regarding other sites was under consideration.
The tribunal had in December imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on the Railways for failure to keep tracks and platforms in New Delhi clean after noting "definite negligence" and "intentional lack of will" on the part of all authorities.
The tribunal's direction came on a petition filed by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania, which said the railway authorities had failed to perform their statutory duties and were indirectly responsible for causing pollution at railway properties, particularly on the tracks.
Cracking down on litterbugs, the tribunal had earlier announced a fine of Rs 5,000 on individuals spotted littering or throwing waste on the platforms and tracks.