Working of STPs: HC initiate contempt proceedings against chairman, secy PCB

Working of STPs: HC initiate contempt proceedings against chairman, secy PCB

Srinagar: The high court on Tuesday initiated contempt proceedings against chairman and secretary Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board (PCB) and asked them to show cause as to why they should not be punished for their failure to file fortnightly report regarding the discharge added to Dal and Nigeen lake through Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). “The issue is of considerable pubic importance. It prima facie appears that the authorities of the J&K Pollution Control Board which includes chairman and Secretary have deliberately and intentionally violated the Court directions, in as much as they have shown complete non compliance of the same,” a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey said after senior advocate and amicus curie Z A Shah brought attention to the non filling of the compliance report by the PCB “In view of the fact situation, the Court is left with no option but to initiate contempt proceedings against the chairman Abdul Razak and secretary Vasa Yadav,” the court said and directed its registry to frame rule against them. “(Both of them) to appear in person before the Court on next date to show cause as to why they shall not be punished for committing contempt of the Court,” it said. In view of the situation, the court also directed the Chief Secretary to consider shifting of such officers from J&K Pollution Control Board who do not charge their duties and also prima facie violate the Court orders. “Action be taken report in this behalf be detailed out by the Chief Secretary in the affidavit,” the court said. It also directed the J&K Pollution Control Board to strictly comply with its directions issued on December 26 and submit the reports after every two weeks without any default. The PCB has been directed to check and analyse discharges added to the Dal Lake through STPs, run by government as well as “private actors”. The court had passed the direction after perusal of a report by PCB that STP at Brari Nambal Lagoon here was working beyond its capacity. The Amicus Curiae pointed out that PCB forgets the directions regarding checking of all STPs at regular intervals. “To illustrate only one report from PCB as to whether the discharge added to the Lake are up to prescribed limits, is not to end the matter. Such report made for particular period may not necessarily be corrected as regards post report period,” the court had observed and directed the PCB to check and analyze discharges added to the lake through STPs at Hazratbal, Nishat, Nallah Amir Khan, Brari Nambal and other places after every two weeks and submit report without default. “Let such exercise also be made and the discharges added to the Lake by non-government STPs set up by private actors like Grand Palace, Hotel Centaur Lake View, SKICC and SKIMS Soura be also analysed after such intervals so that performance level of STPs set up by private actors is checked and analysed to ensure that treated discharges as regard PH, TSS, TDS, COD and BOD, Amonical Nitrogen and phosphate and other chemicals are upto prescribed limits,” the court had said. The Court-appointed vigilance commissioners—Mohammad Shafi Khan (retired session judge) and Abdul Hamid Bhat (former SSP)—have already reported that the three STPs are on the verge of collapse and are not effective in preventing addition of pollutants to the Lake. “Had commissioners not inspected the STPs, their status would not have been brought to our notice. In the background Vice chairman LAWDA (Lakes and Waterways Development Authority) was directed to prepare detailed project report (DPR) for establishing new STP at Telbal and upgrading existing STPs,” the court had said, adding, “Nothing worth the name has been done till date. We disapprove of the mode and manner in which important components of Dal project are being ignored, notwithstanding sufficient funds made available to authorities.”

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