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Camping in Rishikesh: NGT raps Uttarakhand govt, seeks reply

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday took strong exception to “flagrant violation” of its order banning camping activities in the entire belt of Kaudiyala to Rishikesh on the banks of river Ganga in Uttarakhand.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Uttarakhand government to file an affidavit as to whether any camps were operating within 100 metres from the middle of Ganga or its tributaries.

“It has been brought to our notice... that the directions in relation to keeping the prohibited area of activity has been flagrantly violated and authorities of the state have not complied with the directions...,” the bench noted. The green panel also directed the district magistrates and Superintendent of Police of Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar along with the public authorities to ensure closure of eight industries and three hotels for causing pollution and file a compliance report in this regard. Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board told the bench that they had issued a letter to the administration and other public authorities requesting that polluting industries and hotels be closed and their essential supply of electricity and water also be disconnected.

The counsel appearing for state pollution control board submitted that till date they have not received any reply. During the hearing, the Uttarakhand advocate general informed the bench that the state government is taking steps to comply with the directions contained in the judgement dated December 10, 2015. The matter is listed for next hearing on January 18. The direction came after the tribunal took note of a newspaper report which had claimed that some resorts have have put up beach camping tents in Havel valley in Yamkeshwar block of Pauri district on the banks of the tributary of Ganga, Havel river, for New Year’s eve celebrations.

On December 10 last year, the tribunal had banned camping activities in the entire belt of Kaudiyala to Rishikesh till the regulatory regime comes into force but permitted the adventure sport rafting with immediate effect.
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