NGT asks minister to reply on flouting green norms during Ujjain Kumbh

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Friday asked Environment Minister Anil Dave to file a reply to a petition alleging violation of environment norms during the 'Vaicharik Mahakumbh' held in May at Ujjain. The green court's central zonal bench in Bhopal, which issued a notice to Dave and the Madhya Pradesh government on May 13, had set a deadline for both to file a reply before the next hearing on August 31. Dave, who was convener of the three-day Vaicharik Mahakumbh held on May 12-14 at Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, was not present in the court. On May 30 he had been asked to reply to the charges made in the petition, which he and the Madhya Pradesh government did not. As an extended activity during the Simhasth Kumbh held in April and May this year, the 'Vaicharik Mahakumbh' was a gathering of religious and political leaders to discuss various issues concerning people and society at Ninora village, about 20 km from Ujjain. The notices were issued following a petition filed by environmental activist Ajay Dubey, who said that many trees were cut and several other norms violated to make way for the venue for the event spread over one lakh square feet. "While organising the event, laws were violated in the same fashion as those during the Art of Living's World Culture Festival held in March in Delhi," Dube said.  He added that farms were levelled and no arrangements were made to manage the waste, causing serious health hazard to the local population. "The organiser and state administration also used hazardous materials like asbestos and bitumen for constructing temporary toilets and roads respectively," the petitioner said. Along with Dave, notices were issued to the Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh, Collector of Ujjain, Commissioner of Indore Municipal Corporation, District Forest Officer of Ujjain and Regional Officer of Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board.