Environment plans should be updated annually: NGT

The National Green Court (NGT), in its order dated January 17, 2023, has made it clear that environment plans at the national, state and district levels in the country must be prepared and updated every year. Significantly, this instruction was approved as a continuation of the previous NGT order of February 8, 2022, on the subject of updating and implementing the district’s environmental plans.

A bench of judges headed by Adarsh Kumar Goel was responding to a petition on January 17, 2023. The ruling was issued as a follow-up to a 2022 NGT order directing state authorities to enforce and update District Environmental Plans (DEPs) in accordance with constitutional provisions dealing with local self-government.

The Tribunal has expressed its satisfaction after reviewing these reports. In addition, concerned States and Union Territories have been instructed to take further action based on the observations and recommendations mentioned in the report issued by the CPCB Oversight Committee.

The Court has noted that District Environmental Plans must contain all relevant data on various thematic issues. It should also detail the necessary action plan covering each city, town and village, together with the deficiencies detected, the estimated cost of their elimination, and the necessary budget support.

Report of CPCB Monitoring Committee

With respect to the remaining 98 districts, the court has said to finalize the districts’ plans expeditiously based on the December 31 status report. For this, the court has given a maximum period of three months.

The report mentions steps taken by CPCB for coordinating with the concerned States, for the preparation of plans and the way forward. With regard to the preparation of DEPs, it is stated that out of 738 districts, plans have been prepared for 640 districts.

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The order said that the CPCB should follow up with interested states. Along with this, information on the progress made on this action plan should be posted on the website each year by January 31.

Name of statesNo. of DistrictsNo. Of DEPs prepared
Andaman & Nicobar 3 1
Assam 34 30
Andhra Pradesh13 13
Arunachal Pradesh 25
Bihar 38 1
Chandigarh 1 1
Chhattisgarh2828
DD & DNH3 3
Delhi 11 11
Goa2 2
Gujarat3333
Haryana 2222
Himachal Pradesh 12 12
Jammu & Kashmir 20 12
Jharkhand 24 22
Karnataka 31 31
Kerala14 14
Ladakh 2 2
Lakshadweep 1 1
Madhya Pradesh52 52
Maharashtra 3636
Manipur 16 16
Meghalaya 116
Mizoram 11 11
Nagaland 12 1
Odisha 30 30
Pudducherry 4 4
Punjab 22 22
Rajasthan 33 33

In the same way, the Court has ordered that the State Environmental Plan must be finalized on February 28 of each year, taking into account the District Environmental Plans or other relevant data and the information related to them must be posted on the site’s State website.

Subsequently, the CPCB together with any other ministry or authority must prepare a joint plan based on the State Environmental Plans before March 31 of each year and publish it on its website. This combined national plan may also be filed with the Secretary General of the Court before April 30 of each year.

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