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Kolkata: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped Rs 5-crore fine on West Bengal government for the failure to take measures in containing air pollution in Kolkata and Howrah.

In the order passed today, NGT has said that a failure to pay the fine within two weeks will lead to an additional fine of Rs 1-crore every month.

The stern order comes in view of Bengal government’s failure to take 15 preventive steps that the NGT had suggested in a 2016 order so to curb the ever-increasing air pollution.

The suggested measures included banning 15-years-old vehicles in Kolkata and Howrah, relocating the Esplanade bus terminus to a place outside the city, banning the burning of garbage in the open, etc.

NGT had passed the order on the basis of a report submitted by an expert committee. But with the state not adhering to the suggestions, noted environmentalist, Subhas Datta, moved a contempt petition in the NGT and this had led to the slapping of fine on Bengal government.

The NGT has directed the state chief secretary to furnish a compliance report in the form of an affidavit by 8 January 2019 as regards the payment of fine and action on the measures that the Tribunal had ordered in 2016.

“This is a very strong step and I hope that the Bengal government wakes up from their slumber now. The NGT has today observed that the bureaucrats of Bengal should be jailed for the failure to implement anti-pollution measures, and I think, this is high time the babus realise the risks,” Datta said.

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