Formed after NGT rap, panel to finalize the new site after checking all waste management parameters
SRINAGAR: A government panel, formed last week following a rap by National Green Tribunal (NGT), has shortlisted alternative for Kashmir’s wastage dumping in Ganderbal district.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that the committee met on Monday, three days after it was formed by the state’s General Administration Department to select the new site among the 15 locations identified by the residents of Achan, The list of the site was brought into the notice of NGT through the amicus curie, advocate Narender Pal Singh, during a hearing on August 22.
Headed by Commissioner SMC as convenor, the committee comprised Deputy Commissioners Ganderbal, Budgam, Pulwama, Bandipora and Srinagar besides Regional Director of the State Pollution Control Board, Director Geology & Mining, J&K or his representative, Director Agriculture, Kashmir Director Horticulture Kashmir and Under Secretary H&UDD.
“One of the three sites among Degnibal, Gadoora, and Shehpora in Ganderbal district has been shortlisted and would be finalized only after receiving a report on whether it satisfies all the parameters required for a wastage dumping site as per Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000 and 2016,” the sources said, adding that the report was expected in next day or two.
The other sites identified by the Achan included Hakermulla, Galander Lasjan, Choon, Daggar Mazahama, Batapora, Pampore Wudder (right side) of Highway Pass, Kakapora, Sumerbug, Dharmulla, Naghrad Kar, Hayat Pora, Devier and Shadipora.
On August 22, the NGT New Delhi had pulled up the state government by questioning it for taking “contrary and self-destructive stands.”
“State of Jammu & Kashmir has for reasons best known to its officers shown least interest to act in accordance with law to improve the (Achan) site and/or make efforts and attempts to ensure installation of waste to energy plant,” the NGT bench headed by its chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar had said.
The Finance Department on 18 September last year had given financial concurrence for accepting the bids for signing of Power Purchase Agreement by the PDD with successful bidder. The approval was even conveyed to a contractor by Srinagar Municipal Commissioner’s letter of 10 November 2015.
Advocate General, Jahangir Iqbal Ganie, after getting instructions from Hirdesh Kumar Singh (Commissioner Secretary, H&UDD) submitted before the NGT that it was a single tender and therefore not to be accepted while the Committee constituted by the Government itself had awarded the contract to the single tenderer.
“The member of the same Committee after short while sitting as member of another committee rejects awarding the work. If awarding of the work was improper or contrary to instructions, then action should have been taken against the Officers who had in the first instance awarded the work and if the allotment was proper then action should be taken against the officers who have blocked the allotment,” said the bench also comprising Justice M.S. Nambiar (judicial member), and two experts members— Prof. A.R. Yousuf and Bikram Singh Sajwan
The NGT said that the Achan has been operating for considerable time “but there is a pathetic state of affairs prevailing at the site”.
“We are pained to note that that the State government has been changing its stand on every date of hearing. Even when all the prayers made by the State were granted, still there was no progress on any front,” the NGT said and pulled it for advancing one “excuse” after other for noncompliance of its directions, the municipal rules and “completely ignoring the environment and health.”
“ (There is) the environmental degradation, leaching from the waste, spoiling of underground water, air pollution, serious odour from this huge site where 400 metric tons of waste is being dumped everyday in violation of the Municipal Solid Waste Rules. The health of the patients in the Hospital (SKIMS) is being adversely affected,” it said, observing that even biomedical waste was being dumped at the site.
Subsequently, the NGT has directed the state government to inform it as to what disciplinary action it was taking against the officers who awarded single tender or delineate reasons for revoking the tender if awarding of tender was correct.
It also directed the government to show-cause why exemplary costs should not be recovered from the salary of all the officers concerned.
“Why appropriate action be not directed to be taken against the concerned officers of the State and public authorities including prosecution under the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 for dumping indiscriminately municipal solid waste in violation of the Solid Waste Management Rules of 2016,” it said in another direction.
It also directed government as to why Tribunal should not direct dumping of municipal solid waste at different sites out of the list furnished by the Amicus Curiae on behalf of the Achan residents.
“The state government to submit a complete and comprehensive plan as to the dumping of municipal solid waste at Achan site and how they propose to ensure that the dumped waste is properly managed, soil is spread, disinfectant sprayed on regular interval and it is ensured there is no odour coming from the said site,” the NGT said and also directed that the report should also state why the government should not restrained by it from dumping any further municipal solid waste at Achan. The matter has been listed on September 5.