GoI releases funds for bio-medical waste treatment facility, J&K fails to identify land

Srinagar: J&K government has failed to identify land for setting up Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBMWTF) both in Srinagar and Jammu cities which was proposed under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) two years ago.
The failure to identify the land is likely to lead to lapse of funds earmarked for the project, the House Committee on Environment report says. It says the administration has brought “disrespect” to the Committee by not even cooperating to it and responding to any of its directions.
In 2012, the government had proposed to install CBMWTF at Srinagar and Jammu and four insulator facilities in far flung districts to dispose of bio-medical waste generated in hospitals after government of India sanctioned Rs 7.50 crore for the purpose.
Later in August 2012, the House Committee on Environment constituted two expert committees, comprising officials of Health and Medical Education Department, Pollution Control Board (PCB) and environmentalists as its members, for each capital city to look into the measures taken by administration for treatment of bio-medical waste and give recommendations.
The Committee, which presented its report earlier this month, has expressed displeasure with the administration in Jammu and Srinagar and Health and Medical Education Department for not being able to identify the land for installation of such facility during last two years on the “pretext of non-feasibility and no-objection certificate (NoC) from (PCB).”
The report says the Committee was “highly disappointed” to know that nothing concrete has been done by the departments concerned despite directions from it.
Giving the account of its meetings with the departments concerned, the Committee says that the Commissioner Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department informed them that after constant follow up, the land for establishment of CBMWTF at Bajalta in Jammu and Lasjan and Zewan in Srinagar were identified, but the department could not establish the facility due to non-clearance of these sites by PCB.
The report also says that the Joint Director, Planning informed the Committee that lastly the department identified 8 kanals of land at Khimber, but it was also declared non-feasible by PCB and now 8 kanals of land at Chattarrhama, Srinagar has been identified for the purpose which is, however, yet to be cleared by PCB.
The Deputy Director, Health Services, Jammu also informed that sites have been identified for such facility at Samba after PCB declared Bajalta and Kana Chak as non-feasible.
“It is astonishing to observe that for last two years giving recommendations and directions by the Committee the concerned departments have miserably failed to identify the land for the project and rather passing the buck and repeating the same story of non-feasibility of the identified sites by the PCB,” the report says.
“The approach adopted by the concerned departments amounts to disrespect towards the Committee.
“The Committee thereupon expresses displeasure and observes that it would be better to dissolve the Committee if administration was not at all interested to cooperate with it,” the report says.
It recommends that the matter shall be brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary for his immediate intervention into the matter for getting the land identified for installation of CBMWTF “so that the amount earmarked under NHRM scheme may not get lapsed.”
Presently there is no facility available in the state to treat several metric tons of biomedical waste generated every month by private and government hospitals and private clinics across the state.
“Out of total waste produced in hospitals around 10-20 per cent is bio-medical which is infectious and needs proper treatment chemically,” the report says.
Presently the bio-medical waste generated in Jammu province is transported to Pathankot in Punjab for treatment and in Kashmir it’s transported to Lassipora, Pulwama.
The Committee is not satisfied with the “casual disposal” of this waste in these areas, the report adds.