The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday pulled up the Ministry of Defence and warned that it would have to take steps against officials who do not follow environmental norms. The NGT had observed that waste generated by military weapons, domestic, industrial, biological, hospital and electronic activities (e-waste) needs to be scientifically disposed of in the interest of public health and environment.
“The order [to be present] was duly conveyed by email but no response has been received nor has the Joint Secretary concerned cared to appear. In view of repeated failures, coercive measures have become necessary against the concerned Joint secretary, including attachment of salary and issuance of warrant,” the Bench observed.
A Bench headed by NGT's chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goyal said: "In view of repeated failures, coercive measures have become necessary against the concerned Joint Secretary including attachment of salary and issuance of warrant. Name of the erring Joint Secretary to be provided by the Defence Secretary within two weeks."
The NGT had in September directed the Secretary, Ministry of Defence to file a status report in the matter after ascertaining the relevant facts and status of compliance of environmental norms from different concerned establishments within three months by e-mail.
The tribunal has warned of strict action and listed the matter for March 2.
According to the petitioner Anil Chopra - a retired Air Marshal who has also worked as a part of UP Solid Waste Management Monitoring Committee - some of the establishments of the Armed Forces lack requisite knowledge on ecological issues and solution to the environmental challenges particularly in virgin areas.
The NGT was constituted as per the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.