The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed all states and union territories to designate a nodal agency under respective chief secretaries to identify, protect and restore their water bodies.

The direction came following a plea seeking identification, protection and restoration of 214 water bodies in Gurugram and Faridabad.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson, justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the nodal agencies to convene a meeting by January 31 to take stock of the situation and plan further steps for the protection of water bodies.

The bench said the nodal agency may be the state wetland authority or the river rejuvenation committee or to any other designated authority such as the secretary, state irrigation, public health or water resources departments.

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“Under the Public Trust Doctrine, the state has to act as trustee of the water bodies to protect them for the public use and enjoyment for current and future generations,” a report quoted the bench.

As per the direction, all district authorities are to be involved and the nodal agencies are to incorporate a monitoring and grievance redressal mechanism for the same.

The tribunal also directed the NGT formed central monitoring committee to supervise the steps for restoration of water bodies by all the states at least thrice in a year.

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