Develop 36 railway stations into eco-smart stations: NGT

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NEW DELHI: Post a report by Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India which stated about unsatisfactory waste management at railway stations, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Ministry of Railways to identify and develop “at least 36 stations as eco-smart stations”.

The report said that there was unsatisfactory management of waste generated and dumped on rail tracks, and open defecation on tracks leading to unhygienic conditions and health hazards.

A bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, NGT Chairperson observed the report and said, “The said 36 stations may be developed as model stations which can be replicated in phases and maybe called “eco-smart stations” or by some other name as the railway administration decides.”

Moreover, NGT has directed the Railways to ensure compliance of relevant solid waste management rules. The bench added that the railway authorities are free to recover the cost of restoration of the damage to the environment from the identified polluters in accordance with the law.”

NGT asked the administration to coordinate with urban local bodies and consider banning the use of plastic at railway stations.

The directions came while the green panel was hearing a plea moved by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania, which sought steps to check pollution at railway stations. The Bench also took note of a study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board at 14 major railway stations.

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