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Green Tribunal summons Chief Secy

Comments Off on Green Tribunal summons Chief Secy   |   February 24, 2014    01:33pm   |Contributed by manoja

TNS

Hoshiarpur, February 20
The full bench of the National Green Tribunal has ordered Punjab Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh to appear before the bench on March 5 or face coercive action. The tribunal issued the order yesterday with regard to his not being present for hearing even after receiving the notice in this regard.

The order was issued on an application submitted by PK Rana, chairman of NGO Safal Bharat Guru Parampara, and others with regard to the falling water table in Punjab. The aplicants want a ban on the plantation of eucalyptus.

The tribunal has issued a notice to the Centre in this regard, considering it necessary to be added as a party in the case. The applicants had not made the Centre a party in their application.

Rana told the media here that the NGO was fighting for maintaining groundwater in the state. “We have raised an important issue of falling water level and the adverse effect of planting eucalyptus. The Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, secretaries of Irrigation, Water Resources and Electricity Departments (respondent number 1 to 5), and the Central Ground Water Authority have been issued notice to appear before the tribunal with reply on the issue.”

The Central Authority, represented by its counsel, appeared before the bench yesterday and pleaded for more time to file a reply. And so did the Secretaries of the Irrigation, Water Resources and Electricity Departments. But the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary were not present in person or through their counsel.

The tribunal’s bench, in its order, said: “It is unfortunate that respondent number 1 to 5 have no proper response except… seeking more time to reply. The Chief Secretary of State as well as the Principal Secretary having received notice have failed to either appear before the tribunal through a responsible officer of a counsel. This only shows the lethargic attitude of the government authorities.” The order further reads, “In view of the matter, we direct the Chief Secretary of the state of Punjab to appear in person on the next date of hearing, failing which the coercive steps will be taken.”

The issue

-The order has been issued on an application submitted by NGO Safal Bharat Guru Parampara, and others with regard to the falling water table in Punjab
-The applicants want a ban on the plantation of eucalyptus

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