On February 05, 2024, a significant stride in environmental legislation was taken as the Parliament introduced the Water Amendment Act 2024. This bill seeks to amend the existing Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, aiming to bolster the mechanisms for preventing and controlling water pollution across various regions in India. The amendments proposed in this bill are poised to fortify the regulatory framework, ensuring more stringent measures for environmental conservation and sustainability.
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, has been a cornerstone in India’s efforts to combat water pollution. However, recognizing the evolving environmental challenges and the need for enhanced regulation, the Parliament has put forth several crucial amendments to address existing gaps and strengthen enforcement.
One of the notable amendments pertains to Section 5 of the Act, which deals with the terms and conditions of service of members. The proposed addition of the phrase “by the Central Government” after the word “prescribed” aims to streamline the process of appointment and regulation of members, thereby ensuring greater accountability and efficiency in the functioning of relevant bodies.
Additionally, amendments to Section 25, which focuses on restrictions on new outlets and discharges, signify a proactive approach towards industrial pollution control. The provision allowing the Central Government, in consultation with the Central Board, to exempt certain categories of industrial plants from specific provisions underscores the importance of balancing environmental protection with industrial development.
Furthermore, amendments to Section 42 regarding penalties for certain acts reflect a firm stance against environmental violations. The revised penalty structure, with fines ranging from ten thousand rupees to fifteen lakh rupees, sends a clear message that non-compliance will not be tolerated. The introduction of an additional penalty for continuous contravention emphasizes the seriousness of adhering to environmental regulations and the consequences of prolonged neglect.
It’s noteworthy that the applicability of these amendments extends to specific regions initially, including the entire states of Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, along with the Union territories. However, the Act also provides a mechanism for other states to adopt these amendments through a resolution passed under relevant constitutional provisions.
The immediate implementation of these amendments in the designated regions underscores the urgency of addressing water pollution and protecting the environment. By enacting stricter regulations and penalties, the government demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding natural resources and ensuring sustainable development.
In conclusion, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024, represents a significant milestone in India’s environmental legislation. Through these amendments, the Parliament reaffirms its dedication to environmental conservation, setting a precedent for proactive and robust regulatory measures in the face of growing environmental challenges. As these amendments take effect, it is imperative for all stakeholders to uphold the spirit of environmental stewardship and work collectively towards a cleaner and healthier future for generations to come.
Download – Water Amendment Act 2024
Legal Update by QHSE Alert
Akshar Management Consultant
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