SRINAGAR: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday directed a committee comprising members of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), scientists from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and scientists from the Ministry of Water Resources to visit the Achan municipal waste-dumping site and submit a report “positively” within a week.
These directions, by a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, followed submissions by the state’s counsel GM Kawoosa that the committee had not yet visited the site.
Counsel for the CPCB, advocate Rajkumar, submitted that it was because of lack of coordination between the members of the committee that the visit could not materialise.
“We direct the members of the Committee to visit the site and comply with the (last) order positively within this week,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore (judicial member) and Dr Ajay A Deshpande (expert member).
The tribunal also directed the counsel appearing for the two ministries, CPCB and the state government, to “fully coordinate and ensure that there is no default.”
“Inspection report be submitted before the Tribunal before the next date of hearing,” the tribunal ordered.
The tribunal on a previous hearing had directed the committee to visit the dumping site in the outskirts of Srinagar and collect samples of leachates, water bodies, ground water and disposal of effluents.
“The analysis would be done at the inlet/intake as well as outlet point as per our previous order, to be complied with by this Committee immediately and report be placed before the Tribunal,” the NGT had said, and further directed that the committee would act under the supervision of Pro AR Yousuf, former expert member of the NGT.
The committee was constituted by the NGT after it expressed dissatisfaction with the “complete contradiction” of the State Pollution Control Board in analysis of effluents’ samples collected from the dumping site and its surroundings. The NGT has already issued a notice to the SPCB to show cause why it shouldn’t be fined for not carrying out orders appropriately.
“Even the basic parameter like Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) is varying from 100 mg/l and 6 mg/l. The J&KPCB is free to show cause as to why we should not impose cost (fine) upon them for not carrying out the orders of the Tribunal appropriately,” the tribunal had said after perusing the report submitted by the SPCB about the water samples collected from Anchar lake and groundwater samples from Achan, the only site for dumping municipal waste in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the tribunal also granted the state government one more week to submit the proposed Action Plan to effectively deal with municipal waste at the Achan dumping site.
“We have already made clear that on (next date of hearing), we would be compelled to pass coercive order, in view of the conduct of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, State Pollution Control Board Jammu & Kashmir, and Srinagar Corporation for last two years,” the tribunal had said on the last date of hearing.
It had pulled up the ruling PDP-BJP government for its failure to handle the municipal solid waste, observing that the landfill site at Achan was causing serious environmental, health, and groundwater pollution problems.
“We have been accommodating the government of Jammu & Kashmir now for more than a year-and-a half. They have not been able to finalise any stakeholder for establishment of a Municipal Solid Waste Plant in any of its responses and the sanitary landfill site is causing serious environmental, human health and groundwater pollution problems,” the bench had said, underlining that the government was obligated to remedy the same and that the present state of affairs “cannot be permitted to continue any longer”.