The Centre has told the National Green Tribunal that action plan for 37 railway stations which are to be developed as “eco-smart stations” will be implemented in three months.
The Centre told a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel that nodal officers have been identified by the railway administration to oversee the implementation of environment management systems at the 37 stations.
“They will also act as regulators for environment norms and will have authority to lay down and collect compensation on ‘Polluter Pays” principle. They will be authorised to issue receipts for the compensation so recovered. This mechanism will be put on the website,” Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Railways, told the NGT.
Noting the submissions, the tribunal said that with regard to the next phase, action plans should be prepared for all the remaining major stations indicating phase-wise steps and categories of implementation.
“The action plans may have categories for number of stations for different phases but all the major stations should be covered within one year on the pattern of 37 major stations already identified.”
“We also expect that de-centralised municipal solid waste plants may be set up at the identified locations in terms of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. The Executive Director, Environment and Health Management (ENHM), Railway Headquarters, may compile the progress of execution of action plans periodically and also lay down adverse consequences for the nodal officers or others who fail to execute the action plans within the targeted timeline by way of entry into their annual reports,” the tribunal said.
It also said the Railway Board may also compile data of preparation of action plans for the remaining major stations within three months and furnish the same to the Central Pollution Control Board for analysis.
“If the CPCB finds that action plan has been duly implemented and selected railway stations are meeting the parameters of ISO 14001, such stations may be certified as eco-smart stations,” the tribunal said.
The green panel had earlier said there was an urgent need for the railways to put in place an effective implementation and monitoring mechanism with provisions of fixing accountability of individuals in respect of solid waste disposal, littering of solid and plastic wastes, defecation etc.
The NGT was hearing a petition filed by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania seeking steps to check pollution on railway properties, particularly on tracks.