NGT issues warrant against forest Min, Secy & ASI DG

Bhubaneswar: The principal bench of  National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued bailble arrest warrant against the principal secretary of forest and environment department, the minister, forest and environment, and director general of Archeological Survey of India for not appearing before it on a case related to environmental threat to Jagannath temple and pollution in Puri.

Green activist Subash Dutta, who filed the petition in the tribunal, apprised the judiciary body that ‘Mahaprasad’ is being cooked on the temple premises every day using fire wood. The smoke emanating from the fire wood is posing considerable threat to the 12th century shrine which is considered as a national heritage, the petitioner said.

Similarly, he also drew the attention of the tribunal regarding the open funeral pyres at largest funeral ground ‘Swargadwar’. Dutta stated that smoke of the funeral pyres is causing environment pollution in the tourist town.

The NGT took up the matter for hearing on May 1 and made the ASI as a party as it is responsible for the maintenance of the temple. The Central and State Pollution Control Board were also directed to make their views on the issue. Later on May 22, the tribunal served notice to the Odisha forest and environment minister, secretary, ASI DG to appear on Monday. However, all of them did not turn up following which the bench expressed displeasure.