The National Green Tribunal has directed all States and Union Territories, to in three months time prepare at least one model District Environment Plan, which can be replicated in other districts of the State/UT.
By an order passed on September 26, 2019, in the case of O.A. No. 710/2017, Shailesh Singh vs. Sheela Hospital & Trauma Centre, Shahjahanpur & Ors, the tribunal had directed the Department of Environment of all States and UT, to prepare District Environment Plans of their respective States and finalize the 'State Environment Plan', covering specific thematic areas. The action for preparation of the State's Environment Plan was to be monitored by the respective Chief Secretaries of States, which was to be completed by December 15, 2019. Further, based on States and UTs Environment Plans, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), was to prepare, country's Environment Plan.
A compliance report filed by CPCB stated that only seven states, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh (MP), submitted State Environment Plan to CPCB. In the case of MP State, Pollution Control Board has shared District Environmental Plans of 9 Districts and reported that DEPs of 39 out of 52 districts completed.
While, six states namely West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir, sought time ranging between two weeks to six months for preparation of District Environment Plan and State Environment Plan.
A bench led by Chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said "Completion of environmental plans in terms of order of this Tribunal cannot be unduly delayed having regard to implications of such steps for protection of environment and public health. Some of the handicaps pointed out can be overcome by the proactive role of CPCB, in ensuring preparation of at least one model District Environment Plan in every State in the first instance which can thereafter be replicated for all the Districts in the States/UTs and so on."
The bench directed the State Pollution Control Board and concerned District Magistrate to assist the CPCB in this regard. A model action plan at least for one District each in all States/UTs, to be prepared in the next three months.Thereafter, exercise may be replicated with regard to all the Districts followed by State Environmental Plan and then a National Environmental Plan in further three months.
The directions were passed while hearing an application filed by Shree Nath Sharma.