Southern Bench of NGT states that most of the present calamities are man-made owing to not fixing flood plain of water bodies
The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pointed out that most of the States have not yet taken steps to fix the flood plain or the buffer zone from water bodies and restrict construction activities near the banks of rivers and lakes.
The Bench comprising Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member K. Satyagopal has stated that most of the present calamities like floods are man-made on account of not fixing flood plain of rivers, backwaters and other water bodies.
Permitting construction in these areas will affect the free flow of water during the monsoon. It will not only affect the persons who had violated the natural flow of water, but also cause loss to the exchequer by way of providing relief to those responsible for the violations, it said. The Bench has made these observations while considering an application against the indiscriminate construction activities along the Chakkuvally lake in Kollam district in Kerala.
The Supreme Court and the NGT had directed the State governments on several occasions earlier to take steps to fix flood plains of rivers and full tank level (FTL) of lakes, reservoirs and to provide buffer zone for restricting the constructions. The governments have to protect the water bodies as expected by them under Article 48 A of the Constitution of India, it said.
The Bench has directed the Principal Secretaries of Environment, Public Works and Irrigation in Kerala to submit their independent reports on the action taken by the government to protect the water bodies by fixing the flood plain/buffer zone/full tank level of the rivers, reservoirs, lakes and other water bodies before June 30.
The department heads should also explain the steps taken to prevent construction near to these water bodies in violation of the rules. The Kollam District Collector has to submit a report on the construction activities along the Chakkuvally lake, according to the tribunal.
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