The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Uttar Pradesh government to pay Rs 120 crore as fine for environmental violations, including improper solid waste management and discharge of sewage into rivers in Gorakhpur district.

The principal bench of NGT headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted the liability of the state for discharge of 55 MLD sewage into rivers at Gorakhpur at Rs 110 crores.

"Applying the scale of compensation followed in the case of Maharashtra, compensation comes to Rs 11.40 crore which is rounded off at Rs 10 crores. Thus, total compensation is determined at Rs 120 crore," the bench said in the recent order.

The green court was dealing the issue for consideration of the remedial action against contamination of water bodies and ground water, specially Ramgarh Lake, Ami, Rapti and Rohani Rivers in and around District Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.

According to the applicant, contaminated water results in Entero Virus (EV) which is brain fever, similar to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). Gorakhpur has history of death of hundreds of children at BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur though majority of patients may come from different parts of eastern UP and Bihar outside Gorakhpur.

Considering the matter, the bench said, there are two issues - control of EV and control of pollution which also to some extent is source of EV, apart from other diseases. While on the issue of control of EV, report of the Committee shows significant reduction in such cases due to sustained efforts in the last five years with recommendations requiring further measures.

"From the data presented by the State itself, apart from past violations, continuing violations of discharge of untreated sewage into the drains, rivers and other water bodies is more than 50 MLD. As against reported generation of sewage in Gorakhpur to the extent of about 100 MLD, treatment is not more than 45 MLD," it further stated.

The tribunal also formed a six-member joint Committee to look into the matter. The panel will be headed by ACS, U.D, UP, with Regional Director, CPCB, Regional Officer, MoEF&CC, Member Secretary, State PCB, nominee of PCCF, (HoFF), U.P and Municipal Corporation, Gorakhpur.

"The Committee may meet within one month and update action plan for prevention and remediation of pollution so as to achieve tangible results within six months," the order said.