Last Updated: Feb 08, 2024
Parliament has passed the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024 with the Lok Sabha approving it on Thursday (08th February 2024) . Rajya Sabha has already passed the legislation. The Bill seeks to amend the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. The Act establishes the central and state pollution control boards to prevent and control water pollution. The Bill decriminalises several violations and imposes penalties. It will initially apply to Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and the Union Territories. Under the act, the chairman of a State Pollution Control Board is nominated by the State government. According to the provision of the bill, the central government will prescribe the manner of nomination and the terms and conditions of service of the chairman. The Bill imposes a penalty between ten thousand rupees to 15 lakh rupees for violation of provisions related to the discharge of polluting matter in water bodies.
Replying to a debate on the Bill, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav said that the Government is committed to the Namami Gange Project and appealed to the members to join hands to make it a mass movement. He also said that the guidelines which will be issued under the legislation will in no way encroach upon the rights of the State Pollution Control Boards. He assured the House it would be transparent and help promote ease of living and ease of business. He also said, the rules framed under the legislation will provide an opportunity to the violators to their views as well.
He said there should be more environmental consciousness rather than the application of Artificial Intelligence. He said it is important that there should be mindful utilisation of natural resources. He said over one lakh water bodies have been identified under Amrit Sarovar and 75 lakes are included in Ramsar sites.
Earlier Moving the Bill, Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav said, the changes have been brought to give a push to the industrial development and ensure environmental protection.
Initiating the discussion on the Bill, Manickam Tagore of Congress alleged that the Bill is against the federal nature and culture of the country. Shankar Lalwani of BJP supported the Bill saying that steps taken by the Government resulted in the reduction of pollution levels in the country be it water or air. Other members including Supriya Sule of NCP, D M Kathir Anand of DMK, N K Premachandran of RSP, Geetha Viswanath Vanga of YSRCP and Pratima Mondal of AITC who were among those who participated in the discussion.
After passing the Bill, the House was adjourned for the day.